Officials targeted

By Greg Rivara

State legislators crucial to the passage of State Sen. Patrick Welch’s bill to create a separate governing board for NIU were targeted during Tuesday’s Student Association Student Political Education and Action Committee meeting.

Young Democrat President John Morreale said if Senate President Philip Rock, D-Oak Park, “gives it the go in the senate, (Welch’s bill) will probably go through.” The committee is uncertain if Sen. Michael Madigan, R-Lincoln, will oppose the bill.

Morreale will meet with Rock to try to find out who SPEAC members need to persuade to support Welch’s bill and the best way to go about it, he said.

Morreale told the committee in order for Welch’s bill to pass it must gain support from “down state republicans.” Morreale said if NIU would obtain a separate governing board with a student vote, southern universities such as Eastern Illinois University, Western Illinois University and Illinois State University would also pressure their legislators for one.

College Republican President Mark Brierton said opposition to Welch’s bill also will stem from republicans considering it a “re-election bill.” Brierton said the re-election attitude toward the bill is a factor because of senate redistricting in 1990.

Student Association President Paula Radtke said Rep. John Countryman, R-DeKalb, also is working on a bill for a separate governing board for NIU. “If we want to see this thing fly, we need to make these two people work closer together,” she said.

Radtke said the difference between the two bills is Welch, D-Peru, is advocating primarily for a separate governing board for NIU, while Countryman emphasizes “crushing the Board of Regents.” Countryman’s bill has yet to be submitted to a committee, she said.

Morreale said a vote on Welch’s bill will probably come in February. “If the bill doesn’t pass this time, you won’t see it again for the next five to 10 years,” he said.

The committee discussed organizing letter-writing campaigns stemming from students’ home legislative districts as well as personally meeting with opposing legislators. The number of people asked to help sway legislators to support Welch’s bill will depend on how many legislators need to be lobbied, she said.

Welch’s bill calls for one student and one faculty vote on the governing board while Countryman’s bill does not address the two voting members, Morreale said.