NIU Must Not Investigate Its Own “Coffee Fund”

I really hate to pick on Marc Strauss, the only Northern Illinois University trustee who will talk to the press right now, but this doesn’t wash:

“We acted swiftly upon learning of the possibility of impropriety, and I instructed the NIU Police to launch a thorough investigation,” [Eddie] Williams [who is executive vice president of the Division of Finance and Facilities] was quoted as saying. “We are waiting for the police to conclude their investigation. We look forward to receiving the findings in the very near future.”

The NIU Police Department also falls under the Division of Finance and Facilities, and Strauss said he could see why people might be concerned about a conflict of interest.

“It would be different if the allegations were against the police,” he said. “But the allegations aren’t against the police[.]”

Really? Anybody can see that as the investigation travels up the food chain, NIU Police will come face to face with its own boss. Why would you put your police department in that kind of position?

And any attempt whatsoever to justify even the appearance of a conflict of interest is a really bad move — especially if it turns out, as suggested by the resignation/nondisclosure agreements, that a cover-up of misconduct may be involved.

Try again, NIU trustees! An investigation from outside is the only correct answer.