Backward priorities

I am amazed, for the umpteenth time in my four years at NIU, at the backward order of priorities with which The Northern Star concerns itself. I am referring to The Northern Star’s attempt to make a perfectly legitimate and necessary program appear scandalous as read in “Two officials explain foreign travel” in the Nov. 3 issue of the Star.

Ms. DeRomana is the coordinator for the many diverse study abroad programs offered at NIU. Having studied in France for five months through one of NIU’s programs, I can honestly say that Ms. DeRomana’s insight and firsthand knowledge of answered all my pre-departure questions. There is no question in my mind that these trips taken to evaluate and monitor NIU’s programs at cooperating institutions abroad are absolutely necessary to maintain the high quality of NIU’s study abroad opportunities. My own personal experience might have been extremely rocky were it not for the expertise of Ms. DeRomana. In addition, Ms. DeRomana was one of last year’s four recipients of the Outstanding Civil Service award. I find it hard to believe that the committee drawn from the Operating Staff Council would elect her to be a recipient if they felt that she was misusing NIU’s funds for her travel expenses. But, of course, Mr. Lawrence conveniently left out that information.

As much as I hate to do it, I must also defend John La Tourette’s position in this failed attempt to create a scandal. To my knowledge, Mr. La Tourette has always been one of the study abroad programs’ biggest supporters. It is refreshing to see him actually involved in one of NIU’s programs so enthusiastically and perhaps we should all cherish this moment instead of looking for trouble. Without Mr. La Tourette’s constant support of the study abroad programs, the process would not go as smoothly, nor would it have as many programs to offer NIU students.

Lastly, the Star has once again shown its deficiency in the research department. If Mr. Lawrence had taken the time to thoroughly investigate the commercial costs of these trips, he would have discovered that the amount spent by Ms. DeRomana and Mr. La Tourette was absurdly low. It is incredible to me that Mr. Lawrence feels a $36 limousine reimbursement merits SIX paragraphs of journalistic BS! Perhaps the next time The Northern Star is desperate to dig up ‘scandalous’ examples of misuse of funds it should do yet another article on the parking garage, the “sculpture” in the commons, the Life Center… need I say more? Let’s get our priorities straight!

Mary Emrich


French Business & Translation