Bookstore sends apology letters

By Joelle McGinnis

Four black students accused of shoplifting Jan. 21 received letters of apology from the Holmes Student Center Bookstore manager Tuesday.

Bookstore Manager Stanley Shedaker had no comment Tuesday afternoon and said he has been directed to send all comments to William Herrmann, director of bond revenue operations. Herrmann could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Larry Robertson, Student Association minority relations adviser, said the letters were on his desk by 3:22 p.m. Tuesday, and he was going to hand deliver them to the students involved that evening.

Judical Office Director Larry Bolles said the proposal made by Robertson to boycott the bookstore if letters were not delivered by 5 p.m. yesterday, did not affect the decision to send the letters of apology.

“Discussion on the matter had already taken place. It was in the pipeline already, but we just hadn’t completed the process,” Bolles said.

He said he would like to see a resolution to the issue within the next few days. “If we can satisfy the students’ concerns, then we should be able to put the issue to rest and move on with university business,” he said.

In addition to the boycott proposal, Robertson had asked for a full investigation of the bookstore and a public verbal apology for the store’s actions to the minority community from James Harder, vice president for business and operations.

Bolles said the letters solve one of the students’ three concerns. The second concern, an offical investigation into the incident, “had already been considered,” he said.

Bolles said the investigation is part of normal university procedure.

“An investigation will be conducted to identify steps taken in the policies and procedures that created the concerns so they won’t occur again,” he said.

NIU wants to know what brought about the incident, Bolles said. “We know what happened—now we want to know why,” he said.

Robertson said Bolles has promised a full investigation of the bookstore including employee hiring policy and security policy.

Bolles also confirmed the fact that a public apology by Harder is possible, Robertson said. However, “the minority students want more than that,” he said.

“Since we’re in the positon to help, minority students want to negotiate some other—three or four—things in place of the apology,” Robertson said. He declined to say what the other demands are.

He said student leaders and representatives of NIU’s minority organizations brought up several ideas they would like to discuss. Robertson said he is working with minority adminstrators and student leaders on the ideas.

“The issue should be resolved by Feb. 19,” Robertson said.

“It shows through rational negotiation that students can prevail. The students didn’t have to protest or burn buildings down, what we had to do was think, go to the power and negotiate,” Robertson said.