Acting NIU President Says Employee Raises Are A Priority

Aug 14, 2017

NIU Acting President Lisa Freeman
Credit Guy Stephens / WNIJ News

Northern Illinois University’s Acting President said it’s time to repair the damage done by the state budget impasse.  That includes addressing employee compensation.

After more than 700 days without, Illinois has a budget and Northern Illinois University has funding for a full year.  Acting NIU President Lisa Freeman said the school must now work to make up ground that was lost during the budget impasse.

“We need to make sure that we take care of things that have been neglected during that period,” Freeman said, “and that includes employee compensation, it includes our physical plant and our infrastructure.”

Freeman said that, even though the school’s current state allocation is smaller than in past budgets, at least there is now funding to go toward those necessary items.  In the wake of the impasse, many urgently need action.

“But to me, personally,” Freeman said, “the priority is making sure that our employees who are dedicated and committed to the university can see some raises as soon as we possibly do it.”

Freeman says that will take some work to figure out, but she has a team on it and hopes to be able to say more on the subject soon.

In the two years since Illinois last had a budget, colleges and universities have been living hand-to-mouth, trying to keep afloat by laying off employees, deferring maintenance and other cost-cutting measures.  

Freeman also said, regardless of the level of state support, the school will continue efforts to attract and retain students. She says that’s a must if NIU is to be healthy in the long run.