Student Regents react to meeting

Last week’s Board of Regents meeting might have done more to bewilder board members than to clarify language changes that have stirred controversy on three Illinois campuses.

“If you asked me in general what happened (at the Regents meeting), I’d say ‘I’m not sure,’ and if you asked me what’s going to happen, I’d say ‘I don’t know,” NIU Student Regent Bob Tisch said at Sunday’s Student Association senate meeting.

The Regents meeting at Illinois State University was not a time for action, Tisch said. The meeting “left it uncertain in my mind what they were trying to accomplish,” he said.

ISU Student Regent Scott Williams said, “Everyone was put in a position where we had to sit back and listen” at the meeting last week. He said it was a “smart move” to be quiet and concentrate on understanding the meeting.

The Regents decided to form a two-member ad hoc committee to further evaluate the proposed language changes. “If they wouldn’t have formed a committee, there would have been room for criticism,” Williams said.

“No one has a clear understanding of what’s going to happen,” Williams said. “The right things have been said” in regard to the sentiments of the three Regency campuses, he said.

The Regents govern NIU, ISU and Sangamon State University in Springfield.

Tisch said he does not think the SA should pass a resolution critical of the language changes at this time, but added, “I don’t think we should drop our guard at all.”

The controversy stems from changes proposed by Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves. Although the proposed changes are intended to clarify the duties of the chancellor and the presidents of the Regency universities, many have labelled the proposal as an attempt by the Regents to exercise more control over the three campuses.

“It’s good to wait and see where the language changes are going before we make a lot of strong statements,” said SA President Huda Scheidelman. The SA wants to assess the situation and get “a much clearer picture” before acting, she said.

The ISU campus has been very vocal about the issue, Scheidelman said. ISU “wants to make it loud now,” she said. “Reacting too much might have a negative impact on the outcome.”

When dealing with the Regents, Scheidelman said the campuses must maintain “respect and credibility.” The ISU student government is “shooting all their guns,” she said. NIU is going about things “in a little different manner” that might be more effective, she said.

ISU’s student newspaper, The Daily Vidette, called for Groves’ resignation in an editorial last week. “They (The Vidette and ISU’s student government and faculty) are all on the same bandwagon and are very excited” about their reactions to policy changes, she said. The Vidette has reflected the way the ISU student government feels about the situation, she said.

The Northern Star and the Vidette have done an “excellent job” in reporting the issues surrounding the Board of Regents, Scheidelman said. The Star has “reflected the pulse” of NIU, Scheidelman said.