Star fee refund missed in study

By Galvin Kennedy

Careless errors by NIU President John La Tourette’s Fee Study Committee, La Tourette himself and the Board of Regents made the fee for The Northern Star non-refundable this year.

But officials believe correcting the mistake would be a bigger headache than what it’s worth.

Here’s how the chain of errors took place. The President’s Fee Study Committee annually addresses the issue of refundable fees; this year, however, they forgot to include on the list the 97-cent refund for the Star. The committee then passed its report to La Tourette, who also missed the mistake.

Finally, La Tourette presented the same erroneous report to the Board of Regents, which then implemeneted the Star fee as non-refundable.

“When the fee study committee addressed the issue of refundable student fees, they simply forgot to bring up The Northern Star,” said Ann Kaplan, executive assistant to the president.

When the error was made, the fee study committee was chaired by former Assistant Provost Anthony Fusaro, who left NIU July 1.

Fusaro was responsible for the minutes of the meeting, but “anyone along the way could have found the error, so no single person is to blame,” Kaplan said.

“Time will pass. Students will request that their fee be refunded and the bursar will have to explain that the (Star) fee is not on the list,” Kaplan said.

It is unknown how many students wanted to get their money back. Rose Hayes, an employee at the Bursar’s Office, said “not enough students request that the 97 cents be refunded for us to keep a record of the number.”

Star Editor Beth Behland said La Tourette and other NIU officials didn’t inform her of the error.

“Of all the fees that are supposed to be refundable, I’m surprised they forgot about the one that caused the most controversy,” Behland said.

The Star fee originally was approved by the Board of Regents—NIU’s governing body—as refundable in the spring of ‘89 after opposition by the Student Association.