Black Student Union shake-up doing ‘more harm than good’

By Matt Liparota

Call it a tale of two presidents.

After the Student Association Supreme Court ruled to uphold Darren Howard’s election as Black Student Union President last week, other members of the organization voted to impeach Howard.

As it stands, Khiry Johnson, former BSU vice president and a complainant in the case against Howard, is currently BSU president. As far as Johnson is concerned, Howard is out.

But Howard doesn’t see it that way; from his perspective, he’s still president – though he doesn’t expect the rest of the BSU executive board to agree.

“As far as they are concerned, I will never be president,” Howard said.

After the Supreme Court’s ruling, Johnson said he, along with others who had problems with Howard, were willing to let the past go.

“We decided not to impeach unless he did something,” Johnson said.

However, Johnson said Howard forced the BSU executive board’s hand by submitting a constitution to the SA without approval of two-thirds of the e-board.

“[The new constitution] gave him more power and took more power from us,” Johnson said. “There were no checks and balances.”

The BSU e-board decided to impeach. According to the BSU constitution, two-thirds of the board must be in agreement.

Howard said Johnson interpreted the e-board as consisting of the president, vice president and treasurer. In fact, Howard said, the e-board consists of eight people, including many BSU directors.

Howard said he brought the new constitution before the e-board to push it forward and to “make it more specific;” he said Johnson wasn’t at the meeting.

“It looks bad on NIU’s students,” Howard said. “It’s not a black thing or a white thing.”

Former BSU President Deldric Henderson said he felt the shake-up is doing more harm than good, especially to NIU’s African American community.

“The university made a decision,” Henderson said. “The judicial office made a decision. The supreme court made a decision … I support what’s fair.”

SA Senate Speaker Austin Quick, who attended Wednesday night’s BSU meeting, said he could not comment on the situation because he had not seen any of the paperwork.