Editorial: Peters, police deserve credit for response


Faced with the greatest tragedy of its 108-year history, NIU’s response has been inspirational.

From the moment the first shot was fired in Cole Hall up to classes resuming today, NIU’s administrators have handled this tragedy with bravery and dignity, while showing their unconditional love and support to the friends and families of those who lost their lives on Feb. 14.

NIU President John Peters, with the eyes of a worldwide audience directed toward him – many of whom were desperately looking for a slipup, whether it be for sensationalist journalism or simply wanting to place blame – handled the situation in the professional manner and with the heartfelt compassion he has always demonstrated during his tenure at NIU.

When Peters spoke with the Northern Star staff prior to the start of the fall semester, he candidly recalled the painful emotions of learning of a student’s death in a car accident; President Peters has demonstrated that he truly cares for the students as if they were his own children, and one can only imagine the pain and loss that he, in addition to the rest of the community, has felt in the wake of this tragedy. He has visited with the families, attended the funerals, and now is faced with the task of helping guide this university forward. There is no question that if anyone can do such a thing, it’s John Peters.

The University Police, led by Chief Donald Grady, deserve equal credit for their response. Grady and his officers were at Cole Hall immediately. The UP’s handling of evacuations, the campus lockdown and subsequent increased security have all been above and beyond the call of duty. Furthermore, Grady has rightfully earned national acclaim for his poise and strength in the midst of total chaos, and has proved that he is a man the NIU community can count on.

The same can be said for Chief Bill Feithen and the DeKalb Police Department, as well as the many other law enforcement agencies that were on hand to aid the university. Chief Feithen and Lt. Gary Spangler were outside Cole Hall within minutes of the shooting.

Though Feb. 14 will likely be remembered as the darkest day in NIU history, the university’s administrators have risen to the occasion and deserve the thanks of students, parents and community members.

With the help and aid of NIU’s stellar leadership team, we will move forward, together forward.