SLC study request withdrawn

By Eric Krol

Despite a last-minute pullout by NIU administration, students spoke both for and against the proposed Student Life Center at Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting.

The Regents were scheduled to vote on a plan to go ahead with an architectural design study of the proposed SLC. However, Regents Vice Chairman Milton McClure announced at the beginning of the meeting that NIU had asked to withdraw the request.

NIU President John La Tourette withdrew the request because he felt the SLC issue was being confused with the bond refinancing request.

“The refinancing issues make sense,” La Tourette said. “On the other hand, we do not intend to move forward with construction (of the SLC).”

However, the funds kicked up by the refinancing are likely to be used in the SLC construction.

The SLC study request will be made at the Jan. 30 Regents meeting at Illinois State University in Normal. However, several NIU students wished to speak on the SLC issue. The Student Association also sponsored a “Day of Mourning” to protest misplaced priorities, among other things.

But La Tourette said the decision to yank the SLC study request was not a result of the student objections. “No, and I want to make it very clear that we’re not going forth with a construction request until we have completed the study,” he said.

NIU also has to coordinate work going on with the proposed parking facility, La Tourette said.

“The point was there was some confusion about (SLC) and refinancing,” said Eddie Williams, vice president of Finance and Planning.

Williams said he has had several meeting with student leaders and “has always been sensitive to student concerns.”

McClure said the students had the option to speak at the meeting or to address the Board at the next meeting.

Five students chose to take up McClure’s offer. Dawn Cater, a graduate student and past member of the Student Life Committee, filled the Regents in on background of the SLC and said she supported the building. Cater said the SA and press had falsely represented information on the SLC.

SA Treasurer Joe Kolerich said he would address the Regents again in January, but mentioned that he was concerned the SLC will focus NIU efforts away from education and more toward capital development.

Campus Activities Board President Jennifer Spaulding said the building was needed because there is a definite space need. She said the CAB office location is a detriment and other student organizations don’t even have office space. CAB will receive space in the SLC. Spaulding said she plans to speak in January as well.

SA Speaker Michael Starzec said he opposed the building because of its great cost to students and worried about “a Catch-22” of conflicting information from administrators on the parking garage.

Debra Askelson, a graduate student and intern at Counseling and Development, said she supported going ahead with the planning phase.