Do national search

One overriding reason to conduct a national search to fill two administrative positions seems to have escaped the attention of NIU President John La Tourette.

La Tourette says an internal search will save the university money. He says NIU already has “excellent” candidates to fill the positions. But one thing he hasn’t said is that the poor representation of minorities among the faculty and administration leaves little hope that NIU will come closer to meeting the percentage of minorities that make up the general population by conducting an internal search.

There are only five Latino administrators, making up a 1.9 total of the administrative staff, while Latinos make up 9 percent of the general population of the U.S.

Likewise, African-Americans do hold 9.3 percent of NIU’s administrative positions, yet this is also short of the 12.1 percent that African-Americans hold in the general population. NIU also does not have a single Native American administrator.

It is from this pool, with such poor minority representation, that president La Tourette proposes to draw two vice presidents?

La Tourette hasn’t emphasized his best excuse, the salvaging of funds, in his debate. Instead, he claims that NIU’s budget problems are unique due to state budget constraints, reaccreditation pressures and the overwhelmingly important preparations for NIU’s centennial celebration.

The only thing a qualified outsider might not understand is La Tourette’s thinking on this issue. Does La Tourette really expect us to believe that there is not an administrator at another university who knows how to deal with budget pressures, reaccreditation or plan a party?

These reasons are certainly not worth blowing the chance to add to NIU’s number of minority administrators.

With an external search, NIU will not only be increasing its chances to add a superbly qualified administrator to its ranks, but it will also increase the chances of that administrator being a minority.

La Tourette really went out on a limb with this proposal. Maybe he should have examined that limb a little more carefully before he climbed on it, and hopefully he will climb off of it before it breaks.