Henley offers student advise

If you are a new student, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to NIU. If you are a returning student, I extend a warm welcome back to you. Although my remarks are especially addressed to our new students, the remarks will serve as a reminder for returning students.

During the next few days, weeks, months and years, you will be faced with many new challenges and opportunities for making adjustments. Making new friends, adjusting to a roommate, living away from home, meeting the academic demands of the university, learning all the rules and regulations and making decisions often without the immediate input of your parents are just a few of the challenges with which you will be confronted. The Division of Student Affairs will, therefore, play a very important role in your life while you matriculate at NIU. We can help you overcome many obstacles, meet the challenges facing you, make the necessary adjustments to college life and achieve your goals.

The Division of Student Affairs is comprised of the following: Office of the Vice President, Student Housing Services, Counseling and Student Development Center, Career Planning and Placement Center, Judicial Office, University Programming and Activities, University Health Service, Student Financial Aid Office, Student Recreation Center and Campus Child Care Center.

The highly trained professionals in all of the offices are available to assist you with many of your concerns. You are encouraged to use the services and to do so before major problems arise. There are a number of issues which are prevalent on college campuses across the United States. Some of them are alcohol abuse, sexual assaults and dealing with racial and cultural diversity.

Alcohol abuse is a big problem for many students and especially for new students. Some serious traffic accidents, destruction of property and sexual assaults, to name a few, are highly correlated with alcohol abuse. At NIU, all state and local laws regarding alcohol are strictly enforced. If you are of age and do drink, drink responsibly. If you are a non-drinker, you do not have to change your behavior to conform to your peer group. You can set a new standard, and your peers might ultimately emulate your non-drinking behavior.

Sexual assaults are not only very serious matters, but they are crimes. Again, you are encouraged to be responsible. Keep your doors locked. Control your alcohol consumption. If you say “no,” do so firmly; if you are told “no,” do not proceed. Remember that date rapes can and do occur, and they are crimes.

The appreciation of racial and cultural diversity is another issue which we continue to address on our campus. Because NIU has students from diverse races and students with diverse cultural backgrounds, traditions and lifestyles, we continue to work towards the creation of a campus environment which appreciates diversity. By the year 2000, one of every three people in the United States will be a minority. In order to prepare you for an increasingly diverse country, gaining an appreciation of racial and cultural diversity is an important learning objective for all students.

Because all the issues I have mentioned are so important, you need to be aware that NIU has a student code of conduct which addresses these issues as well as others. You are encouraged to become familiar with the Student Judicial Code immediately.

I am sure your experience at NIU will be a positive one. However, it is you who will in many ways determine what that experience will actually be. Become involved in some of our many leadership opportunities available to you as you engage in your academic pursuits. We are very happy you are here, and we are committed to working with you to achieve your goals.

Barbara Henley, Ph.D.

Acting Vice President for Student Affairs