HLC confuses UNI with NIU


Some school/not-so-courteous photo

You can totally see the confusion, right? Right??????????

A Little Bit Kelsey, A lotta bit the Gnus editor

This article is completely satire, any resemblance to any real person is completely coincidental. The statements in the french fry do not reflect the views of the Northern Iowan, nor do they reflect the views of the advertisers outside of this insert.

Members of the UNI administration who were expecting a visit from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) were disappointed this week when the would-be visitors were found to have traveled to the wrong campus.

Representatives from the HLC were scheduled to visit UNI from March 29-30 as part of UNI’s re-accreditation process, for which the university has been preparing for several years. However, the representatives actually arrived on the campus of Northern Illinois University (NIU) in DeKalb, Ill.

Liza Fireman, the president of NIU, said she and her staff were “completely surprised” by the unexpected guests, since the campus is not due for re-accreditation this year.

“I wondered if I had missed an email, or maybe a hundred,” she said.

Meanwhile, UNI staff waited anxiously in the new admissions building, decked out in their Panther purple and checking their phones every other minute for updates. After several hours, when the UNI Catering breakfast buffet had gone cold and the purple and gold helium balloons were slowly descending to the floor, they finally received a text from Alec Martian, the executive vice president of the HLC, which read only “northern iowa university right?? niu??”

The text reveals the root of the misunderstanding: the HLC apparently confused UNI with NIU.

“It appears that the HLC administration believed they were communicating with NIU all along,” said Karen Masher, one of the co-chairs of the UNI HLC Steering Committee.

Sports media outlets, such as ESPN, have also confused the two schools in recent years when reporting on events such as the NCAA basketball tournament and Missouri Valley Conference football rankings.

Martian referenced these previous blunders during a phone interview as he and the HLC representatives frantically sped down the highway to reach Cedar Falls before their hotel reservations were cancelled.

“I mean, it’s a pretty common mistake, right?” he said. “NIU, UNI… it’s the same three letters, you know? All these Midwestern schools. How do they expect us to keep them all straight?”

Masher attempted to remain diplomatic, but expressed some frustration with the mix-up.

“Honestly, I never understand why those sports people get it wrong anyway, and I sure don’t understand it in this case,” she said. “I mean, we were talking with them for years, using UNI emails, UNI letterhead, UNI websites and social media. Plus, our mascot is a panther and theirs is a husky— I mean, they’re not even the same species. I feel like it should have been pretty obvious.”

Casey Months, UNI Director of Public Relations, said she feels that UNI’s new rebranding effort will help to address these common mishaps.

“The new logo intentionally emphasizes the three-letter ‘UNI’ abbreviation, which will hopefully help hammer home the point that we are not abbreviated as ‘NIU,’” she said.

Sophomore marketing major S. Logan King, however, is unconvinced.

“I guess you can hope that, but people have been getting this wrong for years. This is just the latest blunder,” he said. “I think if I were in charge of the university’s PR, I’d be focusing less on little changes to the logo and more on the fact that we’re apparently so forgettable that people can’t tell us apart from a university in a completely different state. That seems like the bigger issue here.”

A new date for the UNI site visit has not yet been scheduled.