Student regents express concern

By Dina Paluzzi

Two student regents have expressed concern about excess spending by the Board of Regents—NIU’s governing body—in operational and administrative areas.

At Thursday’s Regents meeting, NIU Student Regent Nick Valadez said it is difficult to explain what tuition money goes toward when the office of Board of Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves continues to expand budgets.

Valadez said students are paying more, while enrollment is decreasing and operational budgets are expanding.

Groves said Valadez’s criticisms “yearn for facts and figures. He (Valadez) is of the view that we’ve been spending more and more on operational and administrative costs. I don’t think it’s true.”

Brian Hopkins, Sangamon State University student Regent, agreed that administrative spending is high. “It’s a matter of priority,” he said.

Hopkins said there are stains on the floor of the SSU library from leaks in the ceiling, yet, “you walk into the chancellor’s office and sink three inches into the plush carpeting.”

The annual amount charged to full-time students to fund the Regents’ central office has increased to $27 from $15 per full-time student in 1986, Hopkins said.

In Gov. James Thompson’s fiscal year 1990 budget recommendations, the chancellor’s office received the highest percentage increase of the entire Regents system. The chancellor’s office received a 13.6 percent increase from the FY89 budget.

Groves said the chancellor’s office has been underfunded for years and the increase allows the office to catch up to where it should be in terms of funding.

The total budget for the office is more than $1 million dollars, which includes $100,000 in funding for instructional support.

The increase in the NIU budget is 6 percent. At Illinois State University the increase is 7.8 percent, and at SSU the increase is 7.1 percent. The Board of Regents governs these three schools.

Valadez called for a review of operational and administrative spending before another tuition increase is mandated. He also called for the Regents to place a one-year hiatus on tuition increases.

The quality of education is determined by more than tuition and appropriations; it also is determined by management and operations spending, Valadez said.

ISU Student Regent Dan Wagner said he agreed with Valadez “to a certain extent”, but “quality is the most important aspect that we have to deal with.”

Wagner’s constituents at ISU would rather pay an increase in tuition to maintain quality in education, he said.