State has money

The state of Illinois has $1 MILLION DOLLARS OF OUR MONEY! Immediately, you are wondering what I mean, so allow me to explain.

This year was the first year of a 5 percent tuition increase and a year of increased enrollment, thus NIU received an additional million dollars that could be used to help our educational standing, excellence, give the professor a pay raise, hire new faculty, or add more classes so we can graduate in 4 years … but NONE of this will be done because the state of Illinois has our money.

Right now, you are thinking, just as I did when I found this out, that tuition we paid to NIU went to NIU, but that is not the case. In fact, all your tuition money goes right to the state.

What is more offensive is that the state just doesn’t hold on to the money, but it decides how much THEY think we need, rather than how much we really need. Moreover, the state should have no say at all since we pay the money, so it is our money paid to NIU and it should be used here at NIU.

The story gets worse. The money that the state keeps then goes into general state revenues to be used for other state projects, so it never, ever goes to higher education. So while we mournfully pursue the spring catalog seeing a sparse class selection, seeing full professors teaching gen-eds, realizing that you don’t have the class you need to graduate, remember the state of Illinois.

Also keep in mind that two states have already changed this policy, Ohio and Michigan.

It is frighteningly ironic that NIU can more easily raise funds to build a redundant Student Life Building but if it raised tuition today for the purpose of more classes, etc., we would never see it because of the state. The SA Senate has passed a resolution against the Student Life Building because we believe in these hard times that if you can’t raise money for classes, then don’t raise our fees at all.

Moreover, we passed a resolution demanding that the Illinois legislature change this tuition policy. I am currently working so that all the public universities in Illinois pass similar resolutions to pressure the state to move.

Finally, since Illinois is the 9th richest state, but is the 49th state in spending on education, the SA Senate will sponsor a “day of mourning,” at noon, on Dec. 5 in the MLK Commons. That is the day when our governing body, the Board of Regents will meet to decide if they will support the concept of the Student Life building, which will cost you between $35 and $45 a semester for the next 25 years.

If spending on buildings rather than classes bothers you come out and protest.

Michael Starzec

Senate Speaker