Fee explanation, appreciation

After almost 10 years of providing a daily newspaper at no cost to students, The Northern Star is now the recipient of a student fee.

While the refundable 96 cents per semester that students will be charged next fall is about half of the original proposal, it is very appreciated and will benefit NIU’s student press in the years ahead.

Most of the fee, which was approved by the Board of Regents last week, will go toward student salaries. Campus-wide, student salaries are expected to go up by 40 cents per hour this fall and the Star is one of the largest student employers on campus. Room and board rates in the residence halls are being increased to pay for increased wages for food service employees, also.

A wage increase for student employees is long overdue. Off-campus jobs pay higher, and students have been hit with higher tuition and fees. Increased wages will help students meet some of these extra costs.

The other portion of the Star’s fee will go toward the salary of a full-time business adviser. Any student organization with a budget the size of the Star’s (almost $600,000 annually) needs a professional adviser to maintain proper management of funds.

The fee still does not address issues such as equipment maintenance and replacement. But if the fee had not been passed, there would have been a noticeable decline in quality this fall. The Star will do its best to continue to provide quality news and features and to serve readers better. And certainly, the newspaper will continue to give students more than their money’s worth in both quantity and quality of service.

The Star would like to thank the students, faculty and administrators who gave their time and support to the fee proposal. Two people deserve special thanks, however. NIU President John LaTourette’s efforts to bring the matter to the Regents are greatly appreciated. Also, Tom Montiegel, Star publications board chairman and vice president for development and relations, deserves thanks for providing the Regents with answers to questions and other information about the newspaper.