Board of Trustees voices desire to work with DeKalb to create safe environment

By Chelsey Boutan

After a closed session, Board Chair Cherilyn Murer resumed the Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday morning by extending her condolences.

Murer said the death of sociology student Steven Agee II has shaken the campus community and once again brought to light the nationwide problem of violence. Agee was fatally shot at an off-campus party on Nov. 23.

“The news is jolting, and a comment I made to the trustees was that it angers me that [there is] a pervasive infusion of violence in our nation,” Murer said. “I don’t know how our country is going to begin to resolve this issue, but it is much greater than this campus or our community.”

Murer said the death of Agee just one day before Thanksgiving makes the grieving process even harder for Agee’s family and the university’s community.

“Around the holiday season, it’s especially difficult to have gone though a tragedy among our family,” Murer said. “Although it occurred off-campus and the perpetrator was not an NIU student, that doesn’t diminish the grieving of the family and it does not diminish the grieving of this university, because we lost one of our students.”

Murer said NIU will identify other ways to ensure students’ safety and the university will also contribute to the “mitigation” of the “national crisis of violence.”

Murer said NIU needs to partner with the DeKalb community to establish a “safe,” “conducive” and “familial” environment for students in the area.

The Board of Trustees approved Phase III of a the campus alert system, which will extend the project to 13 additional campus buildings. The system transmits live verbal announcements and also converts warnings to texts.

A request was also approved to replace the current P-20 Engagement Center, which was built for temporary purposes.

The center works to develop partnerships in education and training between NIU and other schools.

The board also approved an alcoholic beverage policy that allows alcohol to be served or sold in university buildings for public events, but not for student-related activities.

President John Peters will appoint a special task force that will update the 1991 Campus Alcoholic Beverage Policy and Procedure.