NIU says no to vet group housing


Northern Star File Photo

Lincoln Hall sits in front of New Hall and will be torn down to be turned into a Health Informatics Technology Center.

By Alexander Chettiath

NIU has declined Save-A-Vet’s proposal to renovate Lincoln Hall, a project that would have provided housing for disabled veterans and canines.

Save-A-Vet, created by Danny Scheurer, Marine and Army veteran, rescues retired military and service dogs from being put down and pairs them with disabled veterans.

The refusal was due to “an increase in the number of returning students who seek to live on campus in the residence halls,” and the need of temporary residence for “the possibility of future renovation projects impacting current residence hall space,” said Eric Weldy, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, in a June 15 statement.

“Last fall over 100 new students were housed temporarily in residence hall lounges and the Holmes Student Center hotel during the first few weeks of the semester. … Therefore, … it is not in our best interest to commit Lincoln Hall to Save-A-Vet or any other organization now or in the near future,” Weldy said.

Scheurer said his next step is to check out unoccupied houses on Greek Row.

“When we initially looked at Lincoln Hall we did our research,” Scheurer said. “We spoke to parents of students that have stayed at Lincoln Hall and students themselves. It was brought to our attention the extremely poor shape of the building. Some of the parents even told Save-A-Vet that they removed their kids from Lincoln Hall and told the administration they would pull their kids from the school if they didn’t find a safer location for their children to live.”

NIU, which enrolls 658 veterans, was ranked 138 out of almost 1,400 veteran friendly schools, according to a 2014 College Factual study. Illinois schools ranked ahead of NIU were Southern Illinois University and Western Illinois University.

“I wish I could spend all day … talking about where things went wrong but unfortunately since this project is dead I need to move on so I we can help more veterans,” Scheurer said.