BOARD OF TRUSTEES | BSU rep talks safety concerns


Brittany White, Black Student Union director of civil disobedience, addresses the Board of Trustees Executive Committee during a Thursday meeting.

By Morgan Fink

DeKALB — Brittany White, Black Student Union director of civil disobedience, took to the microphone during Thursday’s Board of Trustees Executive Committee meeting to share the fear felt when a white supremacist group posted recruitment signs on campus in October.

The group, called Identity Evropa, targeted NIU by distributing promotional flyers and placing campaign posters on campus. The organization is identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. NIU officials removed the posters, as they violated campus posting policies because they hadn’t earned approval through the Student Involvement and Leadership Development office.

White discussed concerns and responses from students regarding the hate group.

“The response from the student body was overwhelming and outraged that this group could come on campus and seek to recruit NIU students,” White said during the meeting.

White also mentioned an Oct. 17 campus-wide email acting President Lisa Freeman sent in response to the campus posting. There was no Safety Bulletin from the school regarding the hate group as there would be if there was a shooting on Greek Row, White said.

“We feel that it is important for us to know this information for our own personal safety,” White said during the meeting. “A lot of us were really threatened and scared because we saw what they could do and what they’re capable of.”

In the email, Freeman identified that an unnamed supremacy group had posted on campus and condemned the use of hatred in targeting specific individuals or groups.

“All of NIU’s leadership, and in particular the Office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Campus Police and Student Affairs, remain committed to maintaining a community that is safe, respectful of differences and encourages dialogue,” Freeman said in the email.

White grew emotional during her speech when discussing her personal experience on and around campus, as she said she has been called names by students on campus and racially profiled in local stores.

“It really hurts me that we have to go to a place like this that doesn’t care or respect us enough to protect us and criminalizes us and makes us feel like we deserved it,” White said during the meeting. “We didn’t do anything. All we did was be black.”

Members of the Board of Trustees extended their support to White and the members of the BSU.

“We have to find a way to continue to express ourselves and know that kind of behavior is not tolerated in DeKalb or at our institution,” said Wheeler Coleman, Board of Trustees chairperson, during the meeting. “This is your institution just like everybody else; I don’t care what color your skin is.”

New presidential cabinet member approved

The Board of Trustees Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Personnel Committee approved a new vice president of Administration and Finance during Thursday’s meeting.

The Board unanimously approved Sarah McGill for the position, which will commence Jan. 1. Forums for the three candidates for the position were held over the course of the fall semester.

Some of the responsibilities of the vice president of Administration and Finance include working as a member of the president’s executive cabinet, providing direction and management oversight to external audits, assuming treasurer functions and overseeing enterprise risk management, according to Human Resource Services’ job details for the position.

McGill, who addressed the Board about her appointment, spoke about a conversation she had with her father 20 years ago before she first started classes in college about pursuing higher education — something he never had an opportunity to do.

“I stand here in front of you today completely humble to have this appointment and to have the opportunity to join the NIU community,” McGill said during the meeting.

McGill currently serves as associate vice president for Strategic Initiatives at Northwestern University. She also worked at the University of Chicago from 2006 to 2012 as executive director of Enrollment and Student Advancement.

“There is critical work to be done to ensure that education in our region stays strong for the next generation,” McGill said during the meeting. “I am so excited and proud to be at NIU at this time.”