Doug Baker

Guy Stephens/ WNIJ

Thursday’s meeting of Northern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees was long, reflecting a lengthy agenda. What it wasn’t, was fraught or contentious.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

When Illinois public officials are dismissed for misconduct, they sometimes are
awarded large severance packages – which are paid for by taxpayers. A new proposal approved by the Senate would stop the practice.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

DeKalb resident Misty Haji-Sheikh is entitled to some reimbursed attorney’s fees and costs in an Open Meetings Act case against Northern Illinois University. That’s according to a ruling from a DeKalb County judge this week.

Judge Bradley Waller ruled in November that NIU violated the Open Meetings Act. That's also when he ruled that former NIU President Doug Baker’s awarded severance package of more than $600,000 was null and void.

Northern Illinois University continues to get "written up" for the way it manages tracking of property and equipment. According to a compliance audit released Thursday through the state's Office of the Auditor General, an inventory certification reported 1,288 items ($1,624,740) of equipment could not be located by the university. The listing included approximately 520 computers, servers, CPUs, or other electronic storage devices.

This finding has been repeated since 2015.

The Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees could take another vote next week regarding Doug Baker's Presidential Transition Agreement.

A judge ruled last month that the university violated the Open Meetings Act when it approved Baker’s deal this summer soon after he announced his resignation.

DeKalb resident Misty Haji-Sheikh filed the lawsuit and could be entitled to having her legal fees covered. That decision will be made early next year.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

DeKalb County Judge Bradley Waller granted a temporary restraining order on Friday that bars Northern Illinois University from taking further action regarding former President Doug Baker’s severance package after his June resignation.

The university already paid Baker more than $600,000 on July 15.

DeKalb resident Misty Haji-Sheikh sued the NIU Board of Trustees in June for allegedly violating the Open Meetings Act. Waller ruled that NIU cannot take further action regarding Baker’s severance package before the next hearing on Sept. 8.

Jenna Dooley

UPDATE: (8/1/17) NIU spokesman Joe King confirms Dr. Baker was paid in full as of July 15, 2017.

PREVIOUS: The case of whether the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees violated the Open Meetings Act continues with a hearing the first week of August. A motion filed Thursday requests a temporary restraining order to prevent former NIU president Doug Baker from getting his severance pay.

Diane Drake / WNIJ

Northern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees has released its final annual evaluation of former NIU President Doug Baker. It echoed earlier reviews by the Board, with a few notable exceptions.

A “360 degree review” using feedback from across the NIU community served as the basis for the evaluation.

CREDIT "COURTROOM ONE GAVEL" BY FLICKR USER BETH CORTEZ-NEAVEL / (CC BY 2.0)

DeKalb County Board Member Misty Haji-Sheikh is suing Northern Illinois University over outgoing-President Doug Baker's severance package.

Haji-Sheikh alleges that university trustees violated the state's Open Meetings Act by not revealing the details of Baker's severance package until the end of their meeting making the announcement.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

Northern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees Wednesday voted to make NIU Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman Acting President, effective July 1.  She becomes the first woman to lead NIU.

Freeman takes over from NIU President Doug Baker, who leaves at the end of June. Baker resigned after an inspector general’s report on hiring violations by his administration became public.   

Baker’s term saw an increase in the number of Freedom of Information, or FOIA, requests to NIU over hiring and other decisions.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker will step down on June 30, the end of the current academic year. 

He made the announcement at the beginning of the NIU Board of Trustees meeting, which had scheduled a closed session on its agenda to review “Presidential Employment.”  After a marathon closed session, Trustees emerged to announce their transition plan. Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman will serve as interim president, but will not pursue the position permanently. On July 1st, Freeman becomes NIU's first female president.

Susan Stephens

Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker “mismanaged NIU in relation to the improper hiring of several individuals” between June 2013 and June 2015, according to an August 2016 report by the Illinois Office of the Executive Inspector General (OEIG) made public today.  

NIU

The status hearing scheduled this week involving NIU Controller Keith Jackson and university officials has been reset to Aug. 30.

In 2015, Jackson filed suit for wrongful termination against NIU, the university’s Board of Trustees, President Doug Baker, and former interim CFO Nancy Suttenfield.

The decision to move the status hearing in Rockford follows a motion by the defendants to dismiss the case. Keith Jackson must respond to that motion by May 19. NIU and Baker then must reply by early June. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Northern Illinois University’s president responded this week to complaints about his travel expenses.

UPDATE: 1/8/16: The request to move the case from Chicago's Eastern Division to Rockford's Western Division has been granted. Jackson's attorney, Alejandro Caffarelli confirmed the decision to WNIJ.

Background

Keith Jackson has been NIU’s Comptroller since 1999. He was placed on paid administrative leave, and filed a federal wrongful-termination lawsuit Oct. 2 against Northern Illinois University, the Board of Trustees, President Doug Baker, and former interim CFO Nancy Suttenfield.

Northern Illinois University

The Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees and President Doug Baker intend to file a Motion to Dismiss a case involving Keith Jackson, who was suspended from his job as university Controller. Additionally, court documents show the defendants want to change the venue from Chicago to Rockford.

A Parties' planning meeting was held Nov. 24 by telephone including Alejandro Caffarelli, representing Keith Jackson, and Helena Wright for the Board of Trustees and President Doug Baker.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Scientists who depend on federal funding for their research could find themselves on more secure ground in the future. 

Senator Dick Durbin met with researchers at Northern Illinois University Tuesday to talk about two proposals that would guarantee increases in research and development funding.

Diane Drake / WNIJ

Wednesday was a day for celebrations at Northern Illinois University…even before the undefeated Huskies crushed Ball State, 48 to 27. It was Inauguration Day for NIU president Doug Baker, and student achievement was the focus.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

An important figure in Northern Illinois University’s history is back on campus today to celebrate the school’s future. NIU’s tenth president John La Tourette will attend the inauguration of the 12th president, Doug Baker. 

Diane Drake / WNIJ

It’s inauguration week at Northern Illinois University. Doug Baker will be welcomed as NIU’s 12th president in ceremonies throughout the week…even though he’s held the position for more than four months now. 

NIU

Northern Illinois University's new president is putting his mark on the school's organizational charts. President Doug Baker announced a number of leadership changes at the university today.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

The annual migration of students from all around the country, all around the world, for that matter, to their new home in DeKalb is underway. It's Move-In Day at Northern Illinois University.