Commission to hold minority social

By Jill Stocker

Walt Owens, chairman of NIU’s Commission on the Status of Minorities, will host a reception today at his house to help new students on campus meet and socialize with other minority students and faculty.

Owens said a problem many minorities face at NIU is finding different forms of entertainment in which they can participate.

“We have this reception so they (minority students) can meet new people and to let them know they’re not out there by themselves.”

A reception is held in both the fall and spring semester of each year.

The Commission deals specifically with racial tensions within the university that minority students face and with the retention and hiring of minority staff and faculty members.

Commission members take complaints from minority students and staff, ask them how they feel the problem can best be handled, and try to solve the conflicts.

For example, about 500 students in the CHANCE program last year were threatened with eviction from on-campus housing because of non-payment of their bills. Owens said it was discovered the problem stemmed from the documents being lost between the housing office and the bursar’s office. The commission took action and prevented the students from being evicted.

Another complaint handled by the commission involved racial slurs aimed at NIU athletic teams. The problem was relieved by sending a statement to Huskie Boosters saying that kind of behavior would not be tolerated, Owens said.

The commission is composed of three faculty members, three supportive staff members, and four students, covering all ethnic groups on campus.