Council set to examine bookstore

By Joelle McGinnis

An ad-hoc committee was formed Feb. 5 to conduct an investigation into the Holmes Student Center Bookstore security policies and procedures.

The committee was formed in response to a Jan. 21 incident in which four black NIU students were accused of shoplifting.

James Harder, vice president for business and operations, stated in a memorandum released Tuesday, the committee is to “review the processes followed in implementing bookstore security policy and procedures which were in effect through Jan. 25” and “to review the bookstore policy and procedures and to recommend changes and/or improvements, if needed.”

William Parker, associate to the vice president for business and operations, and William Herrmann, director of bond revenue operations, met with bookstore employees Tuesday to inform employees of the committee.

Marlin Tenboer, student center director, said Stanley Shedaker, bookstore manager, submitted a set of security procedures to be implemented until an electronic security system can be installed. The procedures are awaiting approval from Larry Bolles, university judicial office director.

“No time limit has been set on the committee,” Harder said. The time limit has been left “open ended,” because “it is in the best interest of the university not to preclude the investigation to resolve the issue,” Harder said.

Harder said in the memorandum the closed committee meetings will not be subject to the open meetings act.

University Legal Council George Shur said because of legal precedent the act does not apply to an internal university advisory committee whose purpose is to advise administrators on matters pertaining to internal university affairs.

The committee has been asked to investigate allegations of racism in the bookstore and reported threats against bookstore employees, Harder stated in the memo.

“Nothing has been formally reported (about threats against the employees) to the best of my knowledge,” he said. The information was brought to Harder’s attention through copies of a letter which also was sent to The Northern Star by student bookstore employees, he said.

The committee is chaired by Parker and includes Barbara Henley, associate vice president for student affairs; Blair Kauffman, College of Law library director and member of the bookstore advisory committee; Walt Owens, chairman of the presidential commission on the status of minorities; Larry Robertson, Student Association minority relations adviser; Debra Schlarb, physical plant operating staff personnel officer; and Bert Simpson, NIU Ombudsman.

Harder said committee members were chosen on the basis of their work at the university and his personal knowledge of them.