Students must remain hopeful for Freeman’s presidency

By Northern Star Editorial Board

Lisa Freeman was approved for contract negotiations Thursday as NIU’s first female president, and the Northern Star Editorial Board would like to express a cautiously optimistic attitude.

Despite disagreeing with the override, the Editorial Board recognizes the significance of Freeman’s presidency and urges students to consider her appointment a historic event. We feel the university has made a long overdue step toward a more inclusive administration.

Universities such as Illinois State, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and Eastern Illinois have yet to elect a female president, according to the universities’ official websites. NIU’s appointment of Freeman demonstrates the administration’s awareness of the importance of diversity. We often hear administrative talk about how NIU needs to be more diversified, but it’s nice to see that displayed in the administration.

It’s clear Freeman is passionate about leadership in her new position, and her commitment will only drive her forward.

“I really love NIU,” Freeman said, according to a July 23 Northern Star article. “I have a deep passion for the success of this university, and I hope I have the opportunity to continue to act on that as the next president.”

Freeman has a vision for NIU: to become a more empowered, innovative and creative environment for students.

Freeman began as a biology professor in 2010 and worked her way from vice president and provost to the position she is in today. The Editorial Board feels Freeman is familiar with NIU’s academic culture, demonstrated through her numerous years at the university.

Being president of a university such as NIU is a challenge for any candidate, but the Editorial Board believes Freeman is up to the task. However, one major hurdle will be increasing enrollment, seeing as there has been a decrease for four semesters in a row, according to 10-day enrollment figures.

Freeman expressed her plans for the university and its efforts to increase enrollment. She said the university needs to reach out to students before they enter college to make sure they understand the importance of getting a higher education, according to a July 23 Northern Star article.

The Editorial Board believes that this will be a good start to addressing the enrollment issue. However it is not the only thing that needs to be done. This explanation is a bit vague and leaves more room for improvement. This plan should only be a beginning to the grand scheme plan to increase enrollment numbers going forward.

While there is hope for Freeman’s presidency, the Editorial Board cautions students to be keenly aware as her time progresses. Our editorial board’s skepticism stems from a general distrust in the administration, which has a history of backing out on their promises. The Editorial Board does not distrust Freeman herself, only the process by which she was appointed.

The Editorial Board advises students to not let the administration decide their opinion of Freeman for them. Students should be well-informed and knowledgeable about Freeman’s credentials, ambitions and agenda. Students should know and care about who’s leading their university.