Admission fee approved

By Maureen Morrissey and Dana Netzel

After two emergency Student Association meetings Sunday, members approved charging admission to Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan’s Jan. 30 lecture at NIU.

A 3-2 SA Supreme Court ruling Jan. 19 found the SA executive board acted appropriately by allocating the Black Student Union $4,000, but it left senators to decide how to handle ticket sales.

The senators faced four options: give the BSU permission to charge at the event, allocate an additional $3,000 and allow free admission to the lecture, approve both the $3,000 and permission to charge admission or approve neither.

“It’s unfortunate the situation came to what it did, but maybe that was the case and we took the appropriate action,” said SA Senate Speaker John Fallon.

Sen. Jordan Kagan said senators were contacted Sunday afternoon about an emergency meeting.

The SA tried to hold a 6 p.m. emergency meeting, but was one senator short of a quorum. After another member arrived, a second meeting began and the senate voted and finished business concerning Farrakhan’s lecture.

Everything is on schedule for Farrakhan’s lecture, said BSU Adviser Admasu Zike. About 500 tickets have been sold and members of the BSU are expecting 4,000 people to attend the event.

If attendance estimates are correct, the event will generate between $12,000 and $16,000. Farrakhan will receive $3,000 and the rest will go into NIU’s Activity Fee Account.

NIU’s part of the contract was signed and sent by “fax” machine to Farrakhan at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 19 for his approval and signature, SA President Huda Scheidelman said.

Later that evening, the SA Supreme Court still had to decide where the funding would come from after responding to a petition submitted by Senators Kagan and Bradley Strauss.

The petition asked the court to rule on the constitutionality of the executive board’s decision to give the BSU permission to charge admission to Farrakhan’s lecture.

The petition stated “this very important issue was treated in a careless and possibly unethical manner,” and asked the court to stop the allocation.

The petition also suggested the executive board again acted inappropriately on Jan. 16 when it allocated $4,000 to help fund the lecture. However, the court upheld the allocation, but decided the board was wrong in allowing the BSU to charge admission.

Last semester, the SA Finance Committee approved a $7,000 BSU budget request to help fund Farrakhan’s $13,000 price tag. The remaining $6,000 already had been promised to the BSU by the Campus Activities Board.

The finance committee’s decision had to be approved by the senate. However, the executive board made a $4,000 allocation Jan. 16 because the BSU needed a decision “immediately and there was no time to call a senate meeting,” Scheidelman said.

According to SA Bylaws, the executive board can act in situations where immediate action is necessary.

The issue of the executive board’s power is still a concern for some senators and will be a question at the Jan. 28 senate meeting.

Tickets for Farrakhan’s Jan. 30 lecture are $3 in advance and $4 at the door. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the University Programming and Activities Office and the Center for Black Studies.