The president of Northern Illinois University announced at a Thursday Board of Trustees meeting that he will resign at the end of June after an investigation found he and other university administrators had sidestepped bidding requirements when hiring highly paid consultants.Nixonian.
President Doug Baker denied investigators’ conclusions. But he called the issue a distraction that the university should not have to face as it deals with other challenges.
Starting when Baker took office in June 2013, university officials, under orders from Baker, improperly classified multiple high-paying consulting positions as affiliate employees to skirt state rules requiring competitive bidding, according to the investigation.He had already lost the confidence of some of the faculty, and the editors of the DeKalb Daily Chronicle lost patience earlier this month.
"This board has been devoted to one overarching objective: to do what is in the best interest of the university," [board chairman John] Butler said. "Baker made it clear he cares too much about the NIU and the people who work and study here not to take action to mitgate the uncertainty."
Baker said that the best way to move forward was to enter into a presidential transition agreement.
Current provost Lisa Freeman will serve as acting president.
Lisa Freeman, the university's executive vice president, will become NIU's first female president, albeit in the interim, on July 1. She said she doesn't plan to pursue the permanent position and will stay in her role until a replacement can be found through a national search.My onetime colleagues might be protecting their role as stewards of the university, based on coverage of Thurday's open meeting.
"This is certainly not a transition that I had envisioned and this is a bittersweet occasion for me, but I'm honored to have this opportunity to serve NIU," Freeman said. "I fell in love with this university and community in 2010 when I interviewed. I take great pride in the transformative experiences this university offers students that allow them to succeed in their careers and in life."
Virginia Naples, professor of biological sciences at Northern Illinois University, called Doug Baker's resignation as president of Northern Illinois University a "necessary change."The secrecy in Altgeld hall led to skepticism in the neighborhoods surrounding campus, notes City Barbs.
"It is the perception of the public that will determine the future course and success for the community," Naples said. "Financial mismanagement needs to be removed and corrected so the public can regain the perception that NIU is headed where it needs to go.
"A new broom sweeps clean and we need a new broom."
Of course the OEIG report is indispensible. It shows the world Baker’s so-called “ethically inspired leadership” for the cynical b.s. that it always has been, ensures the dirt doesn’t get shoved under the rug, possibly opens the door to criminal investigations, and gives hope for better leadership at NIU.Those citizen objections refer to a plan to widen some streets or otherwise provide some kind of grand entrance to the campus through an old residential neigborhood in which the barbed-wire barons' mansions have been converted either to museums or to student apartments. As if prior university administrations hadn't spent enough on ornamental gates at the same time existing buildings weren't being maintained, and people who left weren't being replaced.
But never underestimate the power of citizen-driven drip, drip, drip. I salute you, who played a part in this saga, and hope you enjoy the vindication.