Staff wants greater voice

By Chris Lind

NIU Supportive Professional Staff and students have expressed the need for greater representation on the Joint University Advisory Committee.

JUAC, an advisory committee, was created to look at the academic mission of NIU, to understand staff issues and to meet with the Board of Regents in an advisory capacity, said NIU Regency Professor William Monat.

The Board of Regents govern NIU, Illinois State University in Normal and Sangamon State University in Springfield.

Judy Bischoff, University Council executive secretary said, “Each university may have five members on JUAC. The university decides on its representation to JUAC by the universities’ constitutions.”

Dick Durfee, director of Records and Registration and representative for Supportive Professional Staff, said, “We’re the only group (at NIU) that doesn’t have any contact with the Board of Regents,” he said, adding that students have a student Regent to represent them and faculty have their members on JUAC to represent them.

“The decisions made by the board affect many people in our area,” Durfee said. Those people who currently are not represented serve as research staff and occupy administrative positions at NIU, he said. The proposed JUAC member would represent 358 NIU professional staff employees.

UC Student Representative Diana Turowski said students need representation on JUAC. “I have a problem that we are not represented the same as other universities,” she said.

Turowski said other Illinois universities have student representatives on their university advisory committees.

Illinois State University at Bloomington-Normal has one student member on JUAC, and SSU has two student members on JUAC. NIU has four faculty members and one operating staff member on JUAC, but does not have any student representation, Turowski said.

“We’re not consistent with the other Illinois universities,” she said, adding that students benefit from JUAC and need the representation.

Monat said students are adequately represented by NIU’s student Regent, and said most of the issues reviewed by JUAC are staff-related. Comments from the committee are considered only as advisory, he said.

Students have a representative on the Board of Regents, as do the other two universities. The student Regents have access to executive sessions, whereas JUAC members do not, Monat said.

The Supportive Professional Staff at NIU accounts for the majority of the university’s administrational staff. Members of the Supportive Professional Staff also work in University Health Service, Student Housing Services and the Office of Registration and Records.