In Focus: What is your feedback for President Baker?


President Baker is struggling to handle his responsibilities 

By Perspective Staff

As president of the university, Doug Baker is regularly subjected to performance reviews by the Board of Trustees. This year, Baker has opened up the process to faculty, staff and students, according to an April 17 Baker Report.

Maddie Steen | Visual Editor

I feel extremely unsure about President Doug Baker and what he has spent his time doing here at NIU. Out of 10 Illinois universities, Baker has the second highest salary at $450,000 per year, according to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Considering that we are in such a budget crisis and Baker has made multiple mistakes, it’s hard to see why he is continuously being paid so high or not volunteering to take less to help the university. It seems as though his agenda as president may be a little off-track.

He doesn’t face our problems head on — he tends to attempt to fix them once light has been shed on the subject, but they do not always get fixed. Students, faculty and other organizations express the issues of our university to Baker, and yet things still go unfixed. For example, the university currently holds a red-light rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education that shows an “institution has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech,” according to The university first received this rating in 2015 and has yet to be fixed.

Apparently, students’ freedom of speech is not at the top of Baker’s list of priorities. He handed the letter from FIRE regarding our red-light rating off to the Office of General Counsel instead of addressing the issue himself. Jerry Blakemore, vice president of General Counsel, responded with, “The president has instructed the Office of General Counsel to review these and related policies,” according to his response letter.

To be frank, I’m unsure if I have ever seen a positive Baker Report that shows a plan of action or mentions that some sort of university-related issue has been resolved. All that I have seen is a president that tip-toes around issues and creates excuses for not advocating for our school or the students.

The Board of Trustees needs to take action. Either start steering Baker in the right direction or get rid of him. We should not be spending this much money on someone who has been involved in scandals and wrongdoings since at least 2014.

MacKenzie Meadows | Columnist

President Doug Baker refuses to quit on NIU students, and he proves he’s the best candidate to further NIU’s success. Baker is NIU’s 12th executive officer and has been at NIU for four years, according to his biography on the NIU website.

One of Baker’s goals when arriving at NIU was to enhance the campus aesthetic. He added renovations to the 2014-2015 budget, which granted Gilbert Hall renovations, improvements to Neptune Hall and renovations in the Holmes Student Center, according to his Dec. 22 Baker Report. A huge factor in retention and recruitment is the welcoming environment and the upkeep of the campus that NIU should exude, and he understands that. Baker also set in place a plan to connect the campus by extending Lucinda Avenue and connecting residence halls, the Recreation Center and athletic complexes near the west side of campus, according to a Dec. 23 campus update.

Baker also advocated for students’ right to free speech when he helped enforce The Freedom of Expression Policy, explaining the rights each student has in a more focused detailed example. He wants to make sure that everyone’s opinions are being heard and each student feels justified in their beliefs, according to his Oct. 7 Baker Report. Baker is dedicated to the look and feel of NIU and wants it to be an accepting place. He also cares about each student and wants their experience to be top-notch, which is why he puts in so much effort to make it aesthetically pleasing. Baker has improved NIU in more ways than one, and I stand with him as NIU’s president for years to come.

Faith Mellenthin | Columnist

NIU is at a point where it really needs leadership, but President Doug Baker is not stepping up. In the middle of a three-year budget crisis, the Faculty Senate has tried twice now to take a vote of confidence in him but instead tabled the decision for the future, according to an April 26 Northern Star article.

Baker has sent out reports and announcements about the budget plans and program prioritization, but there is still confusion. His methods of communication are solid but unchanged even with the growing issues. He has not proved adaptable when faculty and students need to stay informed on the state of the university’s finances.

As the leader of a large institution, it should be clear to those who work alongside Baker that he is doing all that he can to resolve these issues such as our lack of state funding. The failed efforts to vote on confidence reflect upon the instability of his leadership.

Baker is in much need of an accurate review but not just from those who work closely with him. This year Baker will receive feedback from faculty and students, according to an April 20 Northern Star article. I believe Baker has made a positive impact on NIU and is heavily involved in campus by consistently attending campus events such as the March 8 Day Without a Woman march that was held in the MLK Commons, according to a March 9 Northern Star article. Right now, he needs to go that extra mile to communicate ideas and realize that everyone at NIU needs a confident and effective leader.