NIU

Student Groups Rally For End To 'Legality Debate'

Apr 9, 2018
Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

Passion was overflowing at Northern Illinois University’s fifth annual “Coming Out of the Shadows” rally. The event organized by Dream Action NIU aims to push back against rhetoric that tries to dehumanize undocumented immigrants:

  

Organizers say about 200 people showed up for "Coming Out of the Shadows" in NIU’s Carl Sandburg Auditorium. The rally kicked off with music, and even some salsa dancing.

Jenna Dooley/WNIJ

Northern Illinois University bids farewell to its longtime staff meteorologist this week.

Gilbert Sebenste has been passionate about the weather for a long time. He says that, when he was four or five years old, he attended a picnic with his parents when the weather started to turn ominous.

“… then all of the sudden as I am riding a kiddie ride -- it was a helicopter ride that went about 20 feet above the ground -- and as I am spinning around up there, I look west and I see these angry, boiling clouds," he recalled. "I am like, ‘Oh, this isn’t good.’”

The Deadline Has Passed, But DACA Status Remains In Limbo

Mar 30, 2018
Jessie Schlacks/WNIJ

It’s been nearly a month since the deadline passed for Congress to make changes to the DACA program – or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This week’s Friday Forum brings us different perspectives on the issues faced by this immigrant group.

Last fall, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to end the DACA program. Lawmakers were given six months to form a compromise bill -- but didn’t accomplish the task by the March 5 deadline.

Susan Stephens

The search for a new president for Northern Illinois University is getting underway. The Presidential Search Preparation Committee held one of several public meetings Thursday.

The committee’s announced mission is to create benchmarks based on current practices and trends related to presidential searches and contracts, and prepare a draft of the job description as well as a document listing “points of pride” for the university.

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.

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Last week, Northern Illinois University presented its Distinguished Alumni Award, recognizing a graduate who’s achieved outstanding professional success. This year’s winner is Andrew Traver, Director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, more commonly known as NCIS.

Traver discussed his path to heading this federal law enforcement agency, and how his job compares with what is portrayed on the "NCIS" TV show.

NIU Alumni Association

Northern Illinois University gave out its 2018 Alumni Awards on Friday.  The ceremony recognized eight alumni who’ve distinguished themselves in areas such as public service and the sciences, as well as giving back to the school in some form. The most prestigious award is Distinguished Alumni, which goes to an alumnus with outstanding professional success or recognition. Other awards honor achievements in public service, science, and the arts, as well as the work of young alumni (under 40 years old). 

The honorees are as follows:

Susan Stephens

The Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees has signed on to a bill that would guarantee stable funding for the school while imposing several performance standards.

NIU Hosts 'Engaged Learning' Conference

Mar 7, 2018
Emily Reed / WNIJ

Northern Illinois University hosted its first Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship Conference on Tuesday.

The focus of the conference was for NIU faculty and staff to learn from one another. Participants were selected by a faculty panel.

NIU graduate student Chris Kraner expressed his enthusiasm for interacting more with his department.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

This WNIJ special originally aired in 2008 and is a compilation of news coverage, commentary, and event audio gathered by WNIJ's news team. Hosted by Bill Drake.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Ten years ago today, a former Northern Illinois University student opened fire in a classroom. Five students were killed; 17 more were shot; and four others were injured while escaping. WNIJ’s Susan Stephens remembers what it was like to be on campus then and in the difficult days that followed.

There are five faces that stay with you. Five students who will always be here, on the NIU campus in DeKalb. Five students who will never get to follow the community motto adopted from the Huskie fight song, “Forward, Together Forward.”

Wikipedia

Northern Illinois University is looking for companies willing to purchase naming rights for its Convocation Center. The facility is the home court for several of the school’s athletic teams. It also holds concerts and other large-scale events.

The university sent out a request for proposals at the end of January and is now holding tours for any interested parties upon request. Associate Athletics Director John Cheney says some local and Chicago-based companies have already expressed interest.

Northern Illinois University students recently took to social media to express concerns about supposed online watch lists kept by the university on certain student groups.

A Twitter account claimed that NIU kept social media watch lists of students in certain groups, including athletes and members of sororities and fraternities. University officials say those lists are merely entries using the software Maxient software for electronic records of certain types of incidents. NIU is one of 800 institutions nationwide that use the software.

Northern Illinois University will be back in court Wednesday, possibly to resolve a lawsuit that contests the circumstances of the severance package for former NIU President Doug Baker after his resignation in June.

Misty Haji-Sheikh, a DeKalb resident and activist, claims the NIU Board of Trustees violated the Open Meetings Act. She maintains the Board did not give the public enough notice or opportunity for input on the matter during the June 15 meeting.

NIU Agrees That AFSCME Unit Can Receive Pay Raise

Oct 16, 2017
NIU

Northern Illinois University and union officials have agreed to a tentative three-percent pay increase for more than 600 clerical, administrative and paraprofessional employees. 

Acting NIU President Lisa Freeman announced last month in her State of the University address that she would pursue a university-wide increase for eligible employees not in open union contracts. That proposal will be presented to the NIU Board of Trustees on Thursday.

NIU Releases Latest Safety And Security Report

Oct 5, 2017
Susan Stephens

Northern Illinois University saw a large drop in drug- and alcohol-related reports over the past two years. The 2017-2018 Annual Safety and Security Report also shows a slight increase in sex offenses.

Alcohol related judicial referrals were nearly cut in half, from 301 incidents in 2015 to 170 in 2016, according to the federally-mandated report.

There were 64 fewer drug related judicial referrals reported.

New NIU Stevens Building May Be Open By Next Summer

Oct 4, 2017
Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Northern Illinois University’s new theater and anthropology building may be ready for students and faculty by next summer.

NIU spokesman Joe King says he walked through the NIU Stevens Building project site recently. He says the difference between the old and new buildings already is astounding, with a large anthropology lecture hall, brighter labs, bigger theater performance spaces and better classrooms all the way around.

King says the renovation project is scheduled for completion by next spring, but not necessarily in time to house classes for either department.

NIU Media Services

Burial services for William R. Monat, the eighth president of Northern Illinois University who died Saturday in Jupiter, Fla., will be held Friday in Florida.

He passed away in his home just 16 days short of his 93rd birthday.

Northern Illinois University

NIU Acting President Lisa Freeman will give the State of the University address tomorrow. 

Freeman took over from predecessor Doug Baker on June 28, after he resigned over improper hiring practices. She has been at NIU since 2010, serving as executive Vice President and provost since the fall of 2013. Her speech is scheduled at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Altgeld Hall. 

University trustees announced the search for a new president won’t begin until Fall of 2018. Freeman has said she will not be a candidate for the permanent appointment.

A hearing to determine whether 41-year old William Curl can withdraw his April 2013 guilty plea for murdering NIU freshman Antinette "Toni" Keller began yesterday.

Curl maintains that his guilty plea was coerced by prosecutors who also threatened to charge his teenage son. He also alleges poor representation from his court-appointed attorney.

NIU Makes Top 100 List of Safest Colleges In America

Sep 5, 2017
NIU

Northern Illinois University has been named to the Safest Colleges in America 2017  Top 100 list by the National Council for Home Safety and Security.

The DeKalb campus was ranked 65 on the list, with only three other Illinois institutions ranked higher:

Photographed by Pearl Yee Wong / Courtesy of Michigan State University Museum

Civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., will take part in two events Tuesday at Northern Illinois University to celebrate the Pick Museum of Anthropology presentation of “Quilts and Human Rights.”

The day’s events also will offer an opportunity for visitors to be part of creating a new quilt dedicated to social and political activism at NIU.

NIU Campus Prepares For Student Move-In Day

Aug 24, 2017
Susan Stephens

More than 3,600 Northern Illinois University students are expected to move into campus housing on Friday.

Most of them will be coming into DeKalb between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Friday -- 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. being the busiest point in the day.

“It’s kind of the – it’s literally the kick-off for the school year,” NIU spokesman Joe King said. “I like to say it’s like the start of the baseball season – everybody’s undefeated when they come to campus on move-in day. So it’s one of the best days of the year.”

Nachusa Grassland Studies Shed A New Light On Soil

Aug 8, 2017
Northern Illinois University

The Nachusa Grasslands, near Dixon and Franklin Grove, have become the focus of a major soil study for a pair of Northern Illinois University professors.

NIU Biological science professor Wes Swingley explained why soil is so difficult to study, yet so fascinating.

Susan Stephens

Funding provided under the new Illinois budget plan will benefit Northern Illinois University in several ways, Acting President Lisa Freeman said in a campuswide email moments after the veto override was announced Thursday.

“I applaud our legislators for the bipartisan cooperation required to end a stalemate that has hurt our state, our university and our students,” she said in the message. “Their actions signal that they appreciate the important role of public higher education in building a prosperous future for Illinois.”

The state budget impasse could affect the accreditation of Illinois universities, which have seen deep cuts in state funding in the nearly three years lawmakers have failed to agree on a spending plan.

The Higher Learning Commission, which accredits schools in the Midwest, recently issued a letter cautioning lawmakers that a lack of funding places Illinois universities at risk of losing their accreditation.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale President Randy Dunn says losing accreditation could make it difficult to hire more staff.

NIU Today

Northern Illinois University's College of Law dean has resigned from his position.

Eric Dannenmaier’s resignation comes after an investigation into alleged improper conduct in the workplace. According to an NIU spokesman, he opted to resign after the investigation’s conclusion, “citing his desire to see the law school remain focused on its important educational mission and to continue his own work in environmental law and policy.”

Students Aim To Become The Face Of NIU

Jun 26, 2017
Austin Hansen / WNIJ

Do you ever wonder how someone becomes the face of a university? The process might be easier than it seems.

Northern Illinois University is holding a summer casting call for students who are interested in representing life as a Huskie in upcoming publications (photographs, videos, social media posts, etc.).

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

For some kids, summer means packing your shorts and bug spray and heading off to camp. For some local teachers, camp means early morning lectures and late night discussions about race, gender, and privilege. At least it did last week at Northern Illinois University. WNIJ’s Susan Stephens stopped by Social Justice Summer Camp for this week’s Friday Forum.

Provided

The man accused of driving under the influence and causing a fatal car crash has been released and is out on his own recognizance. 

Daniel Chavez, 25, was arrested following the car crash Sunday shortly after midnight on Lincoln Highway that killed NIU graduate student Sai Kumar Adluru  and injured three passengers.

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s office says they found traces of marijuana in Chavez’s Jeep, with urine tests confirming the presence of the drug in his system. He also had a blood alcohol level of .076 -- slightly below the legal limit of .08.

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