Validity of 23-year-old report debated

By Darrell Hassler

Students should have nearly complete control of student activity money, according to a 23-year-old report found by Student Association officials.

The NIU 1968 President’s Committee Report was found by Curt Stein, SA welfare adviser, who was looking through NIU’s archives for history about the student judicial code.

However, NIU President John La Tourette said the recommendations from the committee are illegal and should never have been accepted by the administration.

The Committee to Report on Student Governance, which made the report, was put together to determine the role of student government at NIU.

The committee recommended the Student Association Board, now called the Student Association, should be given “complete authority” over student activity money and the administration should act “only in an advisory capacity.”

The committee’s recommendations were approved by the University Council in October of 1968.

But SA President Rob McCormack said the committee’s recommendations have been ignored by the administration.

“That was a time of civil unrest because of the war and everything and the administration and the university wanted the students to play a role in shared governance,” McCormack said.

“(But) over a number of years, this whole original intent has been washed away,” he said.

McCormack said Barbara Henley, vice president of student affairs, violated the spirit of the report when she decided to give $850 last year for student art show refreshments after the SA senate had denied the funding.

“Why couldn’t Dr. Henley have recommended the change and followed this original intent and have the new senate approve the change?” McCormack said.

However, La Tourette said, “Given the state law, one could never, as president, accept those conditions. I am sure they were never accepted (by the 1968 administration), or if they were accepted, they are no longer relevant.

“I don’t think you are going to gain anything by going back and looking through the archives,” La Tourette said.

George Shur, university legal counsel, said NIU is given the power to control all of its money through the Regency University Act approved by Illinois government in 1967.

“Any money collected by the university is considered under the law (to be) university funds,” Shur said. “The basis of our power is this regency act.”

He said this is the first time in his eight years at NIU the administrative authority over student activity fees has been questioned.

A full-time undergraduate student (12 hours) paid $15.16 in activity fees this semester, amounting to $750,000 for the university.

The money goes to at least thirty student organizations, SA Treasurer Mike Holy said.