Groves denies need for board

By Dina Paluzzi

Board of Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves denied NIU’s need to break from the Regents and form a separate governing board to receive more funding from the Illinois State Legislature.

Groves answered questions from the press after the Regents held their board meeting at NIU Thursday.

In response to the argument that NIU needs its own governing board to have its own lobbyists, Groves said, “Northern has an enviable record in the legislature. Northern has gotten the law school through the legislature.

“I would doubt that Northern having its own lobbyist would have resulted in a significant improvement in that record,” he said.

The Regents have done a lot for NIU in getting new programs, new schools and funding from the legislature, Groves said. “The board has supported those things strongly and effectively,” he said.

There is little indication that people feel otherwise, he said. Groves said a separate lobbyist for NIU might sound good in the abstract, but in reality, there is not much to the idea.

“Some think a separate board somehow would be a feather in the cap. I don’t happen to agree with that,” he said.

Groves said most NIU students and faculty members are not as concerned about a separate board as the people who have spoken in favor of it.

He said there was support for a separate governing board for NIU when he taught here from 1965 to 1972. However, there was not a lot of concern about a separate board among the professor ranks.

The argument that NIU has outgrown its classification as a liberal arts institution and outgrown the other Regency schools—Illinois State University and Sangamon State University—is not valid, Groves said.

Two bills currently in the state legislature call for a separate governing board for NIU. A bill proposed by Rep. John Countryman, R-DeKalb, is scheduled to be called to the house’s Higher Education Committee in the next two weeks.

Discussion by the Senate’s Higher Education Committee on Senate Bill 0001, proposed by Sen. Patrick Welch, D-Peru, was postponed.

Groves said NIU is not any different from the other Regency schools than the University of Illinois at Chicago is from U of I at Urbana or than Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville is from SIU at Carbondale.

The same argument could be made for any of those schools, he said. If that argument was carried to its logical conclusion, then every campus would have its own governing board, he added.