Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

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Presidential Candidate Profile: Dannelle Whiteside

Dannelle Whiteside, Esq. is one of the four candidates chosen by the NEIU’s Presidential Search Committee to be presented to the NEIU community and to the Board of Trustees for their consideration. Whiteside had been the Interim President of Austin Peay State University (APSU) in Clarksville, TN in 2020 and 2021. Currently, she is the Vice President for Legal Affairs and Organizational Strategy, as she had been since 2017, before taking the position of Interim President.

Prior to her career at APSU, she had worked for the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, the General Counsel for the Tennessee State Board of Education and District Policy Advisor for the Metro Nashville Public Schools. Whiteside got her law degree, Juris Doctor, from the University of Arkansa, Fayetteville.

During Whiteside’s town hall presentation, she outlined her long-term plan for NEIU, calling it “O.N.E. NEIU.” Her plan would entail embracing NEIU’s identity as a school that serves a diverse student body, as a Hispanic and minority serving institution, and as a school known for serving non-traditional students. It also includes prioritizing fiscal responsibility, and expanding NEIU’s reach to students as well as community and government partners.

Whiteside said she would improve campus communication as well, saying, “There’s no substitute for communication, people need to know what’s going on.” She said she would also continue an initiative she had started during the COVID-19 pandemic called, “Pop-Ins with the Prez,” where she met with students over Zoom once a week. She has also been known for tweeting out where she was on campus, encouraging students to come and talk with her.

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During the question and answer portion of the town hall, Whiteside was asked about her views on NEIU’s lack of an athletic program. She said she was in favor of creating an athletic program at NEIU, describing athletics as a university’s “front end.” However, she said that fiscal stability was a priority and that an athletic program would be a long term project.

Another attendee pointed out, as part of his question, that Whiteside did not have any college level teaching experience, and cited concerns over one of her fiscal points to “examine academic offerings to meet demand.” Whiteside said that her experience in the legal department has meant she sees “the whole institution.”

“I’ve worked with academic affairs on tenure issues and promotion issues… on developing new programs,” Whiteside said, “I’ve worked with the finance office, any new and exciting initiatives that come across my desk.”

Asked by a student about how APSU moved students between its own multiple campuses, Whiteside referenced her travel between NEIU’s main campus and the Carruther’s Center for Inner City Studies (CCICS), saying, “Today, I’ve had a very interesting experience about trying to come from here, to CCICS and back. If I were a student I would say that it is insurmountable. It seems like a very real challenge and we need to figure out how to make it work, what’s feasible for the students.”

According to Google Maps, commuting from NEIU’s Main Campus to CCICS may take 30 minutes, but can take up to two hours by public transportation.

The Independent also spoke to Brecel Limon, recently elected treasurer of the Student Government Association, who spoke with Whiteside one-on-one.

“I really like her,” Limon said. “I feel like she’s a friend I can talk to.” 

Limon was also impressed with her connection with the student body at APSU, saying that Whiteside “understands social media.” Limon appreciated Whiteside’s “Pop-Ins with the Prez,” as well as her interest in making travel between campuses easier.

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About the Contributor
Dan Maurer
Dan Maurer, News Editor
Dan Maurer is the News Editor for the NEIU Independent. He is pursuing a Bachelor’s in  Sociology at Northeastern Illinois University. He got his associates degree from the College of DuPage. His goal in life is to position himself to be able to speak truth to power and provide analysis and facts for informed decision making. He spends his time reading, listening to podcasts, and engaging with science-fiction media. He also hosts karaoke multiple evenings throughout the week.

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