Staff addresses salary issues at Board of Trustees special meeting


Aidan Bengford I Northern Star

The Board of Trustees had their special meeting at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday in Altgeld Hall.

By Gabriel Fiorini

DeKALB — Leaders from the Operating Staff pleaded for staff salary increases to be made at Thursday’s Board of Trustees special meeting.

Holly Nicholson, president of the Operating Staff Council and Rave Meyer, vice president of the Operating Staff Council said Thursday that employees in general are not feeling respected or valued. 

“They do not feel as though they’re being listened to and the problems they’ve been trying to communicate for years are unaddressed, and they’re showing us by leaving in mass,” Nicholson said. “There are issues unique to NIU that have gone unaddressed for long enough that staff are choosing to leave.”

Nicholson referenced issues like delayed, subjective and inconsistent desk audits and employee classifications. She also cited a lack of raises, low starting salaries and NIU’s habit of outsourcing jobs rather than promoting from within. Nicholson asserted that these issues have led to low employee retention and understaffing that has manifested itself in student services suffering. 

“The current overworked and underpaid staff cannot adequately meet the students’ needs,” Nicholson said. “For example, there are not enough building service workers in the residence halls to keep up with the work. In one residence hall, building service employees have gone from 14 full-time employees to seven.”

Meyer offered possible solutions for the Board of Trustees to consider.

“There are solutions or actions that will help address the disparities beginning with a full compensation study, a strength, weakness, opportunity and threat analysis and getting together not just the administrators, but the individual leader of the groups affected to discuss the results of those studies and how to move forward together,” Meyer said.

“These are things that we know we will be addressing and there have been discussions, so we hear what you’re saying,” said Board of Trustees chairman Eric Wasowicz. “We will be voting on goals for 2021-22 today. If these goals are approved, we will be assigning these goals to committees and they will be addressed in future committee meetings with a continued effort of transparency and objectivity.” 

Other business

Several motions were approved at Thursday’s meeting, including the approval of a $900,000 additional expenditure request for NIU’s continuing partnership with the Education Advisory Board, a third-party service provider specializing in student recruitment and outreach efforts.

The Board of Trustees approved an action authorizing NIU President Lisa Freeman to accept an offer for the NIU Art Annex building. The movement will allow the university to proceed in a sale for the 91,000 square-foot property at 2239 Sycamore Road. 

The next regular meeting of NIU’s Board of Trustees will be at 9 a.m. Dec. 7 at Altgeld Hall.