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Northern Illinois Trustees Face Lawsuit Over President’s Severance

DEKALB, Ill. — 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 Court, claiming trustees violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act when it didn’t post a June 15 meeting agenda that 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.

Haji-Sheikh is taking graduate classes at the school. A spokesman for NIU declined comment.

Baker’s last day is Friday. He announced June 15 that he was stepping down amid a state investigation accusing him and other administrators of mismanagement when it comes to hiring consultants.

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