Student letters, lobbying suprise state legislators

By Nancy Broten

Student Association President Jim Fischer and several other members of the Student Committee On Political Action lobbied in Springfield Thursday with legislators and delivered them nearly 200 protest letters from NIU students.

Fischer said the legislators were surprised to see students lobbying since the General Assembly Veto Session is not until Oct. 21.

Students will rally on Oct. 21, the Day of Action, in a state-wide effort to gain a supplemental budget for higher education to relieve Gov. James Thompson’s budget cuts.

NIU student Karen Seymore, former SA Speaker, said legislators accepted the students’ letters but stressed the need for letters from the parents of students as well.

Fischer said although some legislators were very encouraging, others were pessimistic about obtaining a tax increase this fall to provide colleges and universities with supplemental budgets.

“The legislators said it would require a lot of effort to get a tax increase during an election year. (They said), ‘If it didn’t pass last spring, what’s going to get it passed this spring?'” Fischer said. “Hopefully, pressure from constituents,” he said in answer to the question.

“It must be clear that the Day of Action is not the final solution to this problem. It’s an opportunity to educate students to continue to take action over the fall and spring,” Fischer said.

Fischer, satisfied with the trip, said, “I know it’s going to make some sort of impact (on the legislators). The more contacts we have with them, the better.”

SA Senators Chris Hoagland and Anne Rapp and NIU student Jennifer Modrell also spent the day in Springfield.