Fischer plans for governing boards

By Pam Schmidt

NIU students might gain more control over the allocation of student fees if a plan by Student Association President Jim Fischer to create a system of governing boards to manage student-funded areas on campus is approved.

Fischer’s plan to unify students’ input includes a series of governing boards to oversee the allocation of money spent in those student-funded areas. Included in the series is a Holmes Student Center Board and a Recreation Board to manage the Recreation Center, the Huskie Stadium and the Chick Evans Field House.

Although students have had some success in controlling about $600,000 in student fees through the student activity fund, Fischer said there are “millions of dollars” students do not control. Students also have gained advisory-level control of some student-funded money through several advisory boards, including Student Advisory Recreation Committee (SARC), Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) and the HSC Advisory Committee.

“These are not enough,” Fischer said; “These programs need to be expanded.”

If the idea of governing boards is approved, the HSC Board might be responsible for the reallocation of space in the HSC. “There is a lot of wasted space in the HSC because of its unusual design,” Fischer said. “It would be nice to see better utilization of the Pow Wow and Diversions area.”

Fischer said several members of the SA have been discussing the possibility of redesigning and rearranging certain areas in the HSC. Included in the plans is the relocation of the Campus Activity Board from the basement to the Illinois Room on the second floor, making it more accessible to handicapped students.

Earlier this year, HSC Acting Director Marlin Tenboer approved the allocation of more than $5,000 for the repainting and carpeting of several rooms in the HSC. However, because the HSC’s committee is only advisory, the motion did not need student approval.

“You don’t make arbitrary decisions without consulting the advisory committee,” Fischer said.

The HSC Governing Board also might be responsible for increasing revenue-generating activities. Several years ago, the HSC Advisory Committee recommended alternative revenue-generating options to be installed in the Student Activity Center in the basement. Included in the recommendation was an idea to remodel the SAC into a mall format with several shops offering services such as hair designing and a travel agent.

owever, the recommendation failed because there was uncertainty of how the city would react to the idea, said Bill Herrmann, director for Bond Revenue Operations.

Fischer said other areas of the HSC need to be utilized as well, including the Diversions area. “We just spent several hundred thousand dollars to remodel the Diversions area so it can be used as a study hall,” he said.

Although the idea of a series of governing boards is in the planning stages, Fischer said he hopes to meet with NIU administration to discuss the possibility of establishing the design by the end of the semester.