Countryman in favor of Welch’s proposal

By Claudia Curry

State Rep. John Countryman, R-DeKalb, said he would support a bill to be submitted by State Sen. Patrick Welch, D-Peru, which would separate NIU from the Board of Regents governing system.

Welch said he would submit the bill to the state legislature this fall and it would likely come up for vote in the spring session.

Countryman said in order for the bill to pass it must receive a majority of the votes in both houses. The senate has 59 districts, making 30 votes the majority. The state house has 117 representatives which makes the majority vote 59.

Welch said he submitted a similar bill four years ago in the 1985-86 session which proposed the separation of NIU from the Board of Regents and the establishment of a single governing board for NIU. Welch said he has reason to believe that the bill will pass this year.

“I think the bill will pass because the Board of Regents has given us plenty of ammunition to get it passed this time,” he said.

Student Association President Paula Radtke said, “I think that NIU has grown to the point where we don’t match the other schools in the Regency governing system. Our needs are very different from Illinois State University and Sangamon State University.”

Radtke said she thinks it is time for a change. “It might be difficult at first to compete for funding with the other governing systems in the state, but in the long run it would benefit NIU.”

It would be best for NIU if we had a board which only would be concerned with the needs of NIU, she said.

Radtke said that though she supports Sen. Welch’s proposal, she believes that Welch should communicate to the university before submitting his bill this fall. “I think that the campus constituency should be involved in the decisions from the very start. I think he should have consulted university administrators, faculty and students before drafting his bill.”

SA Treasurer Diana Turowski said, “I am definitely in favor of the idea. I would like to know some more information on the financial specifics and benefits of the proposal before I would fully support it.”

The present governing board seems “very unresponsive to student needs at NIU and the other schools,” Turowski said. “They (the Regents) seem so resistant to change and public opinion.”

If attempts to tackle the problems with the present board do not work, Turowski said she would be in favor of a new governing board for NIU.

She said whether the SA senate would support the bill will be in question until the topic reaches the SA senate floor. “If we do decide to support the bill, we would probably write letters to legislators and perhaps speak in favor of passing the bill if the time arose.”