Disagreement over Star fee

By Dina Paluzzi

Differences of opinion concerning a Northern Star fee Dave not been resolved, and the disagreement between NIU’s president and the NIU student regent continue.

President John LaTourette and Student Regent Nick Valadez will make opposing recommendations on the fee to the Board of Regents today.

The Regents meet at 9 a.m. in the Holmes Student Center.

LaTourette said at Wednesday’s Finance and Facilities Committee meeting that he might agree to a refundable fee for the Star, but only if the level of funding remains at 10 cents per-credit-hour.

The Regents voted “no” to LaTourette’s proposed $1.20 per semester at the March meeting at Illinois State University in Normal.

Valadez said he would not agree to a refundable fee at 10 cents per-credit-hour. “I think 10 cents is too high,” he said.

The Star would use the money from the fee to pay the salary of a full-time business adviser and increase student employee wages. A 40-cent increase in wages would be consistent with the wage increase for NIU student employees, LaTourette said.

Valadez argues that it is not the NIU students’ responsibility to provide funding for the adviser or the wages. “It’s either an administrative cost or a Northern Star cost,” he said.

LaTourette said the 10 cents is “essential in terms of budget support for the Northern Star.”

Valadez said he would support a 50-cent refundable fee. However, LaTourette said, “He wants to recommend a fee so low that neither the business manager or the student wage increase could be funded.”

In regard to the amount of the fee, Regent Harry Wellbank said, “How much is a can of beer? I’m against any increases for anything, but what has to be done, has to be done.”

Ray Wilson, publisher of the Elgin Courier and member of the Star publication board was at the meeting to advocate the fee. He encouraged the Regents to vote “yes” to the fee.

Valadez said that while he knows the members of the publication board are capable and qualified, “They are advocates of the Northern Star.” That type of board should not decide fees, he said.

“Let me make myself clear, I have no desire to manage the Northern Star… I have a problem when they want to dip in my pocket, take my money and tell me I have no right to management, I have no right to content, I have no right to anything,” Valadez said.