Students to fight against UC proposal

By Lisa Ferro

NIU students will fight for students’ rights today when a proposal they strongly oppose will be disputed at a University Council committee meeting.

The proposal would give UC the power to approve and amend the Student Judicial Code rather than the Student Judicial Advisory Board. But students are trying to keep the code in the advisory board, which has equal student and administrative members.

The University Council is dominated by faculty and administration.

“The university has no rationale for why they are doing this,” said Student Association Speaker Preston Came. “It just hurts students.”

The originator of the proposal, English Professor James Giles, said he wants to clarify a relationship between the council and the code.

But James Norris, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Science, said he thinks Giles’ proposal is superfluous. He said the UC doesn’t have to specify the power when the power is implied in NIU’s constitution already.

Norris referred to the constitution, which states the UC has the power “to advise the president, and the vice presidents, on policies affecting the quality of student life on campus.”

However, SA Campus Welfare Adviser Curt Stein argues that the constitution doesn’t say “amend” or “approve” but “advise.”

“The word ‘advise’ carries no decision-making authority with it,” Stein said. “It seems funny that they only want to concentrate on certain things.”

Stein has several documents dating back to the 1960s which gave students rights to play an active role in important decisions, he said.

The Final Report on Student Governance by the President’s Committee (1968) states “the student is a participant member in the educational program … he is a participant in his own regulation because his behavior is essential to the effectiveness of the rules.”

“It seems to me like they’re trying to renege on their past decisions,” Stein said.

Came agrees. “It’s something that’s very important to students since it’s been in the students’ control for so long,” he said.

But Norris said he doesn’t think students would be affected if the proposal is passed. He said the UC can recommend to the president anything they want to now.

Donald Buckner, associate vice president for Student Affairs, sat on the special presidential committee which set up the code and judicial system. He said the present system works well and is in the spirit of what the original committee was trying to accomplish several years ago.

The location of the 1 to 3 p.m. meeting has been changed to Neptune Central’s South East Conference Room. Walk-ins may speak if time allows. Students wishing to speak should write down their points for UC review.