NIU board of trustees faces lawsuit over president severance

DEKALB, Ill. (AP) — A member of the DeKalb County Board is suing Northern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees in an effort to void a $600,000 severance payment to the school’s departing president. Misty Haji-Sheikh filed the lawsuit Tuesday in DeKalb County, claiming trustees violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act when they didn’t post a June 15 meeting agenda she says adequately described the item “presidential employment.” She argues the public didn’t have enough time to review the terms of NIU President Doug Baker’s exit contract before trustees approved it. An NIU spokesman declined comment. Baker’s last day is Friday. He announced June 15 he was stepping down amid a state investigation accusing him and other administrators of mismanagement with the hiring of consultants. Trustees on Wednesday appointed provost and executive vice president Lisa Freeman as acting president.