SA votes on constitution issue

By Dana Netzel

Student Association members voiced their opinions Sunday on the deletion of NIU Constitution test requirement.

With a unanimous vote of intent, the senate said the Constitution test is unnecessary and should be deleted.

SA President Huda Scheidelman said the test “is not an accurate tool in asssessing student knowledge on the United States.” Rather, the test allows for the memorization and regurgitation of facts, but not retention of information, she said.

Although the senate might have different opinions or alternatives to the requirement, it is still up to the University Council to decide the outcome of the test, Scheidelman said.

The UC will have the final vote on Dec. 13 to keep or delete the Constitution test requirement. If the UC feels the test should be deleted, the College of Education students will still be required to pass a Constitution test as part of their teaching certification.

A student position on the deletion of the test will be given to the UC so members “know where the students were coming from,” Scheidelman said.

However, some senate members said an alternative should replace the requirement, or the Constitution test requirement should be kept.

Students should be willing to go beyond the state requirements to obtain an NIU degree, even if that means taking the test, SA Recreation Adviser Dave Burke said.

An alternative to the test, such as a mandatory class, might fulfill the purpose of a requirement, SA Senator Ken Hanson said.

However, the political science department tried to institute a mandatory class in 1976, but “low faculty politics” removed the class, Gary Glenn, a political science associate professor, said.

One class, Political Science 140, fulfilled the Illinois Senate bill requirement without a “Constitution test,” Glenn said.

In 1975, the social science general education requirements were reduced from nine to six hours. The anthropology department’s enrollment decreased because students took Political Science 140 to fulfill the Senate bill requirement and general education requirements, Glenn said.

Complaints from the anthropology department brought the issue before the UC in 1976, which decided the class no longer fulfilled the requirement and a Constitution test was necessary.

Although many Illinois universities recognize the Constitution requirement, NIU is the only university where the requirement is fulfilled by a test instead of a course, Glenn said.