Seven wards good for students

Despite some genuine concerns about student voter apathy, the DeKalb City Council wisely decided to continue to give NIU students a strong voice in city government.

The council voted unanimously to continue the seven-ward system. Although the maps have yet to be drawn, it is likely students will still form a majority in three of the wards.

This is a happy ending to what could have been a sad story for NIU students.

During the April aldermanic elections this year, student turnout in some districts ran as low as 2 percent. This was not an aberration but a continuation of a turnout trend that the student-majority wards had experienced for some time.

There was talk that the students weren’t really interested in city government, that because of their temporary affiliation with DeKalb they shouldn’t be represented as strongly. To this end a plan was discussed that would have divided up the seven-ward city into five wards, with the sixth and seventh aldermen chosen in city-wide elections.

A five-ward map would contain one less student-majority ward and the city-wide aldermanic spots would most likely not go to students. The proposal would have probably forced out one of the three students currently on the city council.

Fortunately, it never came to pass. NIU students have gained a victory here, let’s hope they wake up from their civic slumbers and take advantage of it.