To the Editor:
We are concerned about the firing of Northern Illinois University Police Chief Donald Grady and the subsequent denial of his right to an appeal hearing. We do not agree that he was guilty of the things the university accused him of, which denigrated his character and performance.
During Grady’s tenure as chief, he succeeded in making the campus police force a diverse, highly educated and highly trained unit, which improved safety and promoted diversity on campus, as well as improving the relationship of the campus police with other university employees and students, especially those of color. Since his departure, students of color in particular comment to us about how their relationship with the campus police force is becoming more distant.
As stated in the termination papers given to Grady, several major events led to his dismissal:
• The assumptions of a university official, on campus little over a year.
• A county judge’s outburst that she thought one of Grady’s lieutenants had intentionally failed to share the testimony of two students with the court in a pending rape case against former NIU police officer Andrew Rifkin.
• The resulting dismissal of the court case against Rifkin by former State’s Attorney Clay Campbell (later reinstated).
One has to wonder whether all these negative actions and reactions took place before or after the accusers discovered that Rifkin had signed a statement concerning the offending sex act.
Rifkin’s signed admission of having a relationship and committing the sex act with the victim would seem to render the testimonies of the two coeds irrelevant as top priority evidence in the case.
A lie detector test, paid for by Lt. Kartik Ramakrishnan, indicated that he was telling the truth in claiming that his failure to file the two students’ statements with the court was an oversight. Yet both Grady and Ramakrishnan were terminated. Ramakrishnan was at least afforded a hearing – even this courtesy was denied Grady.
Grady’s treatment is in stark contrast to the university’s treatment of the officials involved in the “coffee fund” scandal in a crime was committed. No one was terminated during the investigation and later several warranted only a slap on the wrist. How can the misplacement of an immaterial file by Ramakrishnan be a reason for termination of Grady’s job?
Grady asked the question first and there was no legitimate response, “Is racism a factor?”
Cele Meyer, Walter Hale, Leroy Mitchell, Regina Curry