Although newly-purchased televisions and video cassette recorders for university buses are intended to benefit NIU departments, most were left in the dark about them.
NIU Transportation Manager Bill Finucane said two university buses soon will be equipped with a VCR and six monitors each in response to demands made by several groups.
Columbia Video Systems of Highland Park, Ill., is supplying the new equipment for approximately $5,000, said NIU buyer Bob Caswell.
“There are 12 TVs with 10-inch screens, two VCRs, adapter cables and swivel brackets,” Caswell said.
“The original request (for the equipment) came from athletics,” Finucane said. “Then we talked to other departments.”
However, administrators from various departments, including Admissions, School of Nursing, ROTC and CHANCE, said they were not aware of the proposed installation of the equipment.
On the other hand, some members of the athletic department said they were informed about the new equipment.
Hank Clark, NIU athletic department travel coordinator, said he remembers discussing the subject with Finucane but could not remember who initiated the conversation.
Clark said the monitors could benefit the athletic teams.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Clark said. “Teams can look at films and it allows them to do team meetings on the buses instead of just sitting there.”
Although Clark said there was other interest expressed in the department, NIU Athletic Director Gerald O’Dell said he had no knowledge of the athletic department making requests to Finucane.
“I know none of those special requests came out of this office,” O’Dell said. “I just heard that there had been some discussion about putting (TVs and VCRs) in there, and I thought that was a decision that the motor pool was interested in doing. As far as an official request or an official inquiry … that’s not the case.”
The $5,000 will cover the cost of the equipment, with additional labor costs depending on the amount of time it takes to install the equipment.
“We’re buying monitors and tape players from an outside source, but Media Services will install them because it’s cheaper,” Finucane said.
Some people are concerned that a portion of the funding for the equipment is coming from money generated by ticket purchases for athletic games, but Finucane said that is not the case.
“Transportation will pay (for the equipment) up front and we will charge (each department) for the use of the buses,” Finucane said. “Because it basically will pay for itself, we just use our equipment reserve to pay for this.”
Finucane said the charge for the use of the bus and the charge for the use of the equipment are separate.
“(The departments) are only charged for monitors if they use them,” Finucane said.
Caswell said the equipment should be received within eight to ten days, depending on whether the manufacturer has it in stock. At that time, the equipment will be checked by NIU Technical Services before being installed in the buses.