Palmer backers plan day-long protest

By Dina Paluzzi and Susie Snyder

Students for the Freedom of Martha Palmer, a CHANCE counselor who was fired last year, plan to disrupt Regents’ committee meetings today at NIU.

Tom Rainey, an SFMP member, said the organization would begin the demonstration at 10:50 a.m. in the Holmes Student Center’s Pow Wow cafeteria even though the first committee meeting does not begin until 1:30 p.m. The student demonstrators then will take their protests to various NIU administrators’ offices.

The first Regents committee, the personnel committee, will meet in the student center’s Illinois room followed by the Academic Affairs/Student Affairs committee meeting at 2:30 p.m. in the Heritage room.

The Regents will also meet in executive session today at 4 p.m., although the agendas for the meeting had not been given to Regents as of Tuesday.

NIU Student Regent Nick Valadez said the Regents have not made alternative plans in case the meetings are disrupted by protestors.

Brian Hopkins, Sangamon State University student Regent, said the Regents have not discussed the possibility of a disruption by protestors. The board’s “attitude is ‘let (NIU President) John (LaTourette) handle this’,” he said.

In the long run, the protestors “probably are hurting her” because Palmer’s case is still pending, Hopkins said.

At Thursday’s Regents meeting at 9 a.m. in the Sky Room, members will vote on an academic promotion increment policy at NIU and Illinois State University.

NIU “has always rewarded promotion financially but at a low level compared to practice elsewhere,” Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves’ report states.

Reasons for the policy are to “encourage a higher level of performance, a greater contribution toward institutional goals,” and “to give the individual more of a sense of personal achievement,” the report states.