News Local/State

Lawsuit Filed Over Outgoing NIU President’s Six-Figure Severance Package

Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker

A lawsuit has been filed over Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker's severance package. Diane Drake/WNIJ

A DeKalb County Board member and student at Northern Illinois University is suing the school over outgoing-President Doug Baker's more-than-$600,000 severance package.

Misty Haji-Sheikh alleges in her lawsuit 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.

The lawsuit also alleges that trustees immediately went into closed session, not allowing the public to comment on the severance package itself.  The suit wants Baker's severance package voided and the appointment of a new president to be put on hold.  

Baker said earlier this month taht he will resign June 30 in the wake of a report from the Illinois Office of the Inspector General that found Baker's administration engaged in illegal hiring practices by classifying several full-time employees as part-time, temporary workers. His severance package is worth about $617,000. 

Haji-Sheikh is a graduate student at NIU. Her husband, Micahel Haji-Sheikh, is an NIU associate professor of Electrical Engineering and vocal opponent of Baker.

Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman will serve as interim president.