Dear Members of the Northern Illinois University Community,
With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, it is a good time to pause and reflect. Despite the ever-present challenges, we have much for which we should be thankful.
I am continually humbled by the incredible talent, integrity and dedication of our university faculty, staff and students. Barbara and I count every day--even the tough ones--a privilege to serve as president and first lady of NIU.
In relation to current issues concerning operational areas of the university, I want to assure you that we are addressing these challenges head-on, in a manner that is legally appropriate and sensitive to our overall commitment to fairness and respect for each person's fundamental right to due process. That laws and regulations make it nearly impossible for us to fully and publicly address some of those challenges makes it all the more frustrating.
Today I am able to announce three measures that reinforce our commitment and dedication to the principles of integrity and excellence--two core values at NIU.
First, a comprehensive review of all of the policies, procedures and accounts within departments that inventory and dispose of university scrap materials is well underway to ensure that any future issues, however unintentional, will be prevented.
Second, while I believe our university fraud prevention and detection policies to be strong, I am commissioning a comprehensive review of these protocols. We are also launching a management study of the university's accounting system, processes, procedures and policies in an effort to ensure we have adequate staffing levels and procedures going forward in the critical operational areas of accounting, risk management, internal audit and compliance.
These two initiatives will be led by Jerry Blakemore, Vice President & General Counsel, and Vice President of Administration Steve Cunningham.
Finally, Acting Director of Public Safety Bill Nicklas and Darren Mitchell, Acting Chief of Police, will be undertaking a thorough review of departmental operations that will also include a management study to ensure the department is operating in the most efficient and effective manner to serve and protect our campus community.
As a university community, we are truly blessed-with great people whose talents, dedication, integrity and passion for NIU make a difference each and every day in the lives of our students. For this I am especially thankful as we enter the holiday season.
Barbara and I extend our best wishes to you, our NIU family and friends, during this time of Thanksgiving.
John G. Peters