University Council speaks out on ‘disheartening’ editorial cartoon

By Andrea Azzo

Student representatives on the University Council said the Northern Star misleads students about campus safety during Wednesday’s meeting.

Nick Bender, a member of the College of Business student advisory council, said an editorial cartoon published in Wednesday’s Northern Star poses a threat to NIU President John Peters’ Vision 2020 Initiative, which sets an enrollment goal of 30,000 students by 2020.

“The cartoon is quite alarming and disheartening,” Peters said. “These are student journalists.”

The cartoon referenced a shooting incident that occurred near the Village Commons Bookstore just before midnight Sept. 28.

Austin Quick, Student Association Senate Speaker, said the cartoon was insensitive and said the newspaper’s editorial board needs to reevaluate what is published.

“We feel the editors are able to set a tone, and I think it’s the wrong message to send [to students],” he said.

The Northern Star has an impact on the way the university is perceived, said Delonte LeFlore, senior organizational/corporate communication major. He said the newspaper consistently publishes negative news that shows violence.

“As a student, we’re trying to better [the school’s] reputation,” LeFlore said. “[The newspaper needs] to start showing more positive things. [They] need to do more research on positive things.”

Peters said NIU is a “very safe place for students.”

Other agenda covered during the meeting regarded the state pensions, which Steve Cunningham, vice president for Human Resources and Compliance, wrote is “[n]ot a positive picture in Illinois,” in his report. Peters said this is the single most important issue for Illinois and NIU.

“Illinois and the pension system are in considerable fiscal trouble,” Peters said. “There are $80 billion in unfunded liability the state hasn’t paid.”

In a vote of 45-2, the University Council also motioned to send the Academic Misconduct Policy back to the Undergraduate Coordinating Council to redraft language in the document.