It’s time for some answers

NIU President John La Tourette’s silence on the athletic budget contradicts his continual claim that he is responsible for every dollar that goes through this university.

La Tourette has shunned the media when questions come up about why NIU students pay one of the highest athletic bills in the nation. He apparently does not feel a need to answer questions about an athletic department that uses more money than any academic department here.

For a president who says he is responsible, constantly deferring comment to his budget director shows little responsibility and even less courage.

A public official like La Tourette has an implied responsibility to be open to students and the media. When students pay three times more for athletics than any academic department, La Tourette should be ready to tell them why.

One would hope the president of a university would be more candid about an athletic budget that takes up 6 percent of each tuition bill and $210 of a full-time student’s money yearly.

Our president’s credibility is on the line here. The budget director of NIU has a lot of power, but ultimately La Tourette controls the athletic purse strings. Delegating responsibility here is only avoiding responsibility.

Granted, La Tourette has some tough questions to answer. The way his university is being run is under some heat. But avoiding that heat will only make the fire bigger.

It is time for some answers.