Fellow members of the NIU and DeKalb Community,
I am deeply saddened by today’s news from the DeKalb County Major Case Squad reclassifying Toni Keller’s disappearance as a homicide investigation. Many in our community are experiencing fear, anger and outrage toward this horrific crime. I share in all of these emotions as well. My heart goes out to the Keller family.
Please join Barbara and me in sending thoughts and prayers to the Keller family, to her fellow Huskie classmates, close friends and faculty during this devastating ordeal.
I want to assure parents, students, faculty, staff and the DeKalb community that our attention always has been and will continue to stay focused on campus safety. As president of Northern Illinois University, and most importantly as a parent, I can assure you that the safety of students and our community remains our top priority. We have taken measures to enhance security across campus, including:
- Increasing police presence and patrol operations throughout our community.
- Establishing an information hotline.
- Extending our existing Late Night Ride Service.
- Providing security escorts for NIU students, faculty, staff and visitors on a 24-hour basis.
To our students, I encourage you to take advantage of these services, move about the campus and the community preferably in groups of three or more, talk to NIU counselors and seek comfort from one another. You continue to amaze me with your spirit, strength and compassion.
To our faculty and staff, who do such wonderful work with our students, your well-being is important to us, and I urge you to utilize resources available to you as well.
To parents of our students, please keep in close contact with your son or daughter; ask your child to take advantage of NIU’s security escort service, our late-night ride service, and the counseling services available on campus. NIU is committed to your children’s well-being and education. Their safety is our number one concern.
NIU has been tested before, and we have demonstrated our resilience. In this difficult time, we must stay focused, stay strong and stay united.
I hope you will join me this evening at a community gathering in honor of Toni Keller in the Ellington Ball Room at Holmes Student Center. During times such as this, our true Huskie spirit must prevail. Togetherness is what will see us through.
God bless each of you, our community and NIU.
John G. Peters