Presidential process incites debate

By Northern Star staff

DeKALB — Former State Senator Robert W. Pritchard and student Nathan Hayes were sworn in as trustees by Chairman Wheeler Coleman July 16.

“I look forward to putting the experiences I’ve had over the last fifteen years in the legislature working on educational issues to practice here on a different platform with different challenges and different opportunities,” Pritchard said. “I look forward to working with this board many of whom have joined during my tenure in the legislature.”

Hayes expressed gratitude regarding his appointment as the student trustee. “I’m extremely honored to be able to serve as the student trustee for the 2018-2019 year,” Hayes said.

The Board encouraged representatives from any university advisory committee to provide their input concerning the adjusted presidential search.

Professor Virginia Naples expressed concerns held by fellow members of Faculty Senate and the University Advisory Council about the presidential search as a result of Freeman’s appointment for presidency.

“We are rather concerned about the Board considering what would be a short circuit of the presidential search process by making the appointment based on a single candidate, no matter how qualified that individual is,” Naples said.

“We need not only to do everything exactly as it needs to be done according to policies, rules and regulations. The previous presidential searches were national and we did not necessarily have the open and transparent search that we needed, and that was a flawed process that lead to problems we might have otherwise avoided. What I would like to request today is to ensure that the present process is open and transparent.”

Holly Nicholson, member of the University Advisory Committee, welcomed new Board members and expressed support for the Board’s adjustment of the presidential search as well as Freeman’s presidency.

“I also want to express my support for the proposal of putting acting president Freeman forward as a candidate for president,” Nicholson said “From the time working with her as provost, she has consistently demonstrated her support for staff and has proven herself. I don’t believe a national search will produce a more qualified candidate, let alone one who is as passionate about NIU and can represent us as well as Doctor Freeman has.”

The Board also discussed plans to conduct meetings where constituent groups can express their concerns about NIU and Freeman’s presidency directly to trustees.

“Informational gathering sessions will be scheduled with multiple constituency groups of the university in order to elicit input and feedback on Doctor Freeman’s candidacy,” Chair Coleman said.

Information gathering sessions will be scheduled to take place August and September 2018.

One or two members of the Board will be present to receive feedback and information from each group. Trustees will be limited to listening; deliberations will not occur during these discussions.