SA adviser asked to resign position

By Joelle McGinnis

A former Student Association Senator last week called for the resignation of SA Minority Relations Adviser Larry Robertson.

“(Gary Stittgen) said I was a militant, paranoid black and I should be more concerned with the university’s image,” Robertson told the SA Minority Relations Committee Wednesday.

Stittgen, who also is treasurer for the College Republicans, phoned SA President Jim Fischer and asked for Robertson’s resignation because of the way Robertson had handled the Jan. 21 bookstore incident, Robertson said.

Robertson and Stittgen met Wednesday, and the request for the resignation was retracted.

“I was a bit rash when I made the comment. I was upset and venting steam at Jim (Fischer),” Stittgen said.

“I told him (Robertson) I thought he was polarizing black and white students on campus” with the way he was handling the incident, he said.

Robertson used “a racial incident to take away from the fact that (the students accused of shoplifting) were obviously doing something to bring security’s attention upon themselves,” Stittgen said.

“I don’t think it was fair that Shedaker had to write letters of apology for protecting the security of his store,” he said.

Stittgen said the publicity attracted to NIU by the method Robertson used made NIU look racist. “Any student considering (attending) this university is going to say, ‘why even bother,'” he said.

Stittgen said, “(Robertson) didn’t see it that way—he isn’t concerned with the university’s image. (Robertson) is concerned with solidifying the blacks behind him as a cohesive unit,” he said.

Robertson said, “The image of the university is not prioritized over service to the students.”

A verbal public apology for the bookstore’s actions to the minority community is no longer necessary, Robertson told the committee.

Robertson said a letter of apology from James Harder, vice president for business and operations, might be read by someone else instead of delivered by Harder personally. But if the bookstore investigation committee goes in a slow or non-favorable manner “then (Harder) will be there to apologize,” he said.

Chosen by Harder to be a member of the bookstore investigation committee, Robertson said he was pleased with the immediate decision to establish a committee.

“It’s rare the students get what they want so quickly. The committee is made up of a good mix of people,” Robertson said.