DeKalb County state’s attorney addressed coffee fund, public safety Wednesday


Clay Campbell DeKalb County States Attorney (right) speaks in Stevenson South Towers October 24, 2012 at a meeting of the NIU College Republicans. Campbell addressed current university issues including transparency with the coffee fund and crime on campus.

By Cierria McPerryman

Clay Campbell, DeKalb County state’s attorney, visited the NIU College Republicans to talk about the coffee fund allegations and campus safety. Campbell said he came to NIU to use his ideals, like civic responsibility, to make an impact on people affected by the coffee fund allegations.

“So many people knew what was happening but didn’t speak up,” Campbell said.

The coffee fund was an account that allegedly contained the profits NIU employees would make from selling university scrap metal. NIU confirmed the existence of the coffee fund on Aug. 3.

Campbell said the NIU employees put on paid leave would continue to benefit from their salaries until the criminal case was complete. The NIU Police Department, which conducted an investigation into the coffee fund allegations, turned over its findings to Campbell’s office on Sept. 4. Campbell’s office issued arrest warrants for the nine university employees on Oct. 16.

Some students expressed their opinions on the allegations during the meeting with Campbell.

Sophomore history major Brandon Phillips said NIU is incredibly student-orientated, but the university’s apparent loyalty to corrupt employees makes him question whether there are more people involved than the university is letting on.

“Putting the employees on paid leave is simply inexcusable,” Phillips said.

Campbell said when he came to NIU to ask people questions about the coffee fund allegations, their memories would suddenly get foggy and they wouldn’t mention anything. He said if they knew someone was doing something illegal, it wasn’t alright for them to ignore it. He said it was disheartening and he is waiting for better responses.

Public safety was another issue Campbell raised at the College Republicans meeting. He said the movement of criminal activity from Chicago to DeKalb explains the majority of the crime in the area. Campbell said law enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration and his office know about the crime and are working to prevent it.

“Maybe by us catching them, it will resonate with other criminals that DeKalb isn’t an easy target,” Campbell said.

Phillips said NIU is an easy target because of its ties and proximity to Chicago. Lyndsey Jones, senior biology and psychology major, said she feels safe on campus because she makes smart choices. She said she doesn’t go into the bad parts of town, walk alone at night or go to strange parties.

Because the NIU campus isn’t locked down with heavy security, the crime happening outside the campus could easily happen in it, Campbell said.

Campbell is running for DeKalb County state’s attorney again. The election will be held Nov. 6.