SSU will wait for open seat

By Vickie Snow

While NIU and Illinois State University might receive alumni seats on the schools’ governing board soon, Sangamon State University will have to wait for a vacancy.

Gov. James Thompson has until Sunday to sign House Bill 2842, which would add two seats for NIU and ISU alumni to the Board of Regents, the governing board of the three universities.

If Thompson signs the bill, SSU won’t get an alumni on the board until a vacancy opens, which might not be until 1991. NIU and ISU, however, will receive two spots immediately.

Government and university officials seem to agree that SSU is too small and too new to get an alumnus seat on the board along with NIU and ISU.

At this point, SSU will not get a seat because it has a small alumni pool, said Tom Zeeh, press aid to Sen. Patrick Welch, D-Peru, who sponsored the bill in the Senate.

SSU is a relatively new school that has only been around for the past 30 years.

NIU was created in 1895 and has more than 120,000 alumni. ISU was created in the 1850s and has about 95,000 alumni.

The original alumni bill did not provide for an SSU alumnus. But not wanting to leave SSU out in the cold, officials decided to allow the school an alumnus on the board once a spot opens up, he said.

In addition, Zeeh explained it is not practical to add a third seat to the board for SSU because the number of voting members would be increased to 12, creating possible tie vote. The new alumni members would have full voting power if the bill is signed.

Another reason SSU will have to wait for an alumni seat might be that it has not waged a fight similar to NIU and ISU for their own governing boards, Zeeh said.