La Tourette pressures SA

Apparently, the bully still gets his way at NIU—even if he’s in France.

That’s the message NIU President John La Tourette sent in his recent dealings-by-proxy with the Students’ Legal Assistance situation.

The Student Association voted to give Students’ Legal Attorneys Don Hendreson and Lynn Richards a well-deserved $15,000 pay raise. Barbara Henley, vice president for Student Affairs, even rubber-stamped her approval. However, La Tourette took it upon himself to freeze the money, claiming a lack of justification. Well at least that’s what he told his henchman, NIU Legal Counsel George Shur to say. After all, La Tourette was off gallivanting in France last week while the university erupted.

At any rate, La Tourette froze the money simply to bully the SA into knuckling under to his wishes. La Tourette wanted to put Hendreson and Richards under his control, and he froze the raise in order to have an ace up his sleeve.

As it turns out, La Tourette released the money but not until the SA agreed to his demands. Under the plan, the two attorneys will actually benefit financially, receiving benefits like other state employees. The SA is supposedly going to keep its control over the Students’ Legal Office.

However, putting attorneys who are supposed to be advocating the interests of NIU students under the thumb of the administration is certainly a scary prospect. After all, the SA vs. Henley art refreshments fiasco should still be fresh on everyone’s brains.

Instead of using bully tactics, La Tourette should have been forthright and explained his request. Didn’t he pick up any social graces while he was away in France?