Depleted funds affect handouts

By Rebecca Bahr

NIU communication professors will have to use their imaginations in coming up with ways to make their paper supply go further.

A Nov. 6 faculty alert memo distributed in the department stated that professors will no longer have access to photocopy classroom handouts other than examinations because funds are depleted.

The memo called the new policy “reprehensible and inappropriate,” but at the same time, Assistant Chairman Philip Gray said he could not point the finger of blame at anyone in the university.

The crunch in the communications department is just an example of the effect of the education recession in Illinois, Gray said.

“Education is a barometer of the economy,” he said. “There is talk of support, but in a recession, people will not shell out dollars for education.”

While the college of liberal arts and sciences is now the largest in the university, there is a “pecking order” in terms of funding support, said Arthur Doederlein, director of Undergraduate Communications.

“We don’t get what we deserve,” he said. “Students are going to have to pay because the state of Illinois won’t.”

The pecking order is even more evident statewide. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign spends $16,150 per student, while NIU receives $5,812 for education spending per student.

Uneven funding in the state comes from a legislative philosophy that one state school must be extraordinary in order to compete nationally, Doederlein said. “The feeling is that if extraordinary programs are cut by policy to raise other colleges to mediocre then the state as a whole will suffer,” he said.

In the past, there was more budget flexibility in the liberal arts college, but because of an heavy influx of students entering the liberal arts courses, that flexibility has dried up, Gray said.

The communications department, which is the largest department in LA&S, can no longer support itself on the outdated budget it has been running on, Doederlein said.

For now, the communications department’s best solution is recylcing. Students—who have been understanding—will be asked to return one-sided handouts after an exam so that the other side of the sheet can be reused.

Professors also will read more material orally, pass information around the class and put literature on reserve in the library.