Letter to the Editor: Complaint filer sees flaws in NIU system

I am still a proud NIU College of Law alumna and hope that the school is not associated with the actions of Eric Dannenmaier. I am proud to be part of a school that emphasizes the marriage of the law and service and approaches education holistically.

I have been inundated with support, love, and gratitude from the faculty, staff, alums and students at the law school. I was also impressed with the speed and care with which the university’s Affirmative Action and Equity Compliance office addressed my complaint.

That being said, I am disappointed in the way the university handled its agreement with Dannenmaier. The university chose to endorse Dannenmaier by keeping him as an employee; it chose to protect itself from lawsuit by paying Dannenmaier for “research,” refraining from disparaging comments and limiting university employees’ constitutional rights to speak freely on the subject; and it chose to award almost $95,000 of scarce university funds, which are in part made up of taxpayer dollars, to Dannenmaier.

Additionally, the process lacked transparency. Although I placed my reputation on the line and devoted a significant amount of time and emotion to coming forward and cooperating in a drawn out investigation for the good of the university, I received only a brief memorandum of the investigation’s findings.

I have not seen the official report despite requesting copies from the Affirmative Action and Equity Compliance office long before any injunction. I was not notified when Dannenmaier appealed the result of the investigation which was upheld. Clearly, Dannenmaier’s finances, reputation and emotional wellbeing are more important to the university administration than those of the rest of the NIU community.

These actions are troubling to me and speak to some systemic and fundamental flaws in the university system.