Activities begin for Day of Action

By Nancy Broten

As legislators gather in Springfield today for the General Assembly Veto Session, students at NIU and campuses statewide will protest Gov. James Thompson’s $53 million budget cut to higher education.

One bill students originally hoped to lobby for today in Springfield actually went to the floor of the General Assembly Tuesday, Student Association President Jim Fischer said.

The bill states that the tuition increase students just received will be re-allocated back to the universities and colleges from which it originated rather than accumulating in a general fund.

A busload of 47 students, including Fischer, departed at 8 a.m. today to rally and lobby on the steps of the capitol in Springfield.

The Student Committee On Political Action will host an NIU rally beginning at 11:30 a.m. in the King Memorial Commons. The rally is expected to run throughout the day.

The band “Gene Skala” will kick-off the rally followed by student representatives from several organizations.

The Organization of Latin American Students, the Residence Hall Association, the SA Minority Relations Committee, the Black Student Union, the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan, the John Lennon Society and the FREEZE Campaign of NIU are among the organizations taking part in the rally.

SCOPA members Oct. 15 proposed to department heads and faculty members ways in which classes as a whole could take part in the rally. Among suggestions were holding “teach-ins” in the mall or assigning students to write letters to their legislators in class.

SCOPA Chairman Tom Rainey said, “A lot of the (people we spoke to) were supportive of our suggestions but wouldn’t officially call off classes. There was a lot of encouragement for professors to speak (at the rally).”

ainey said two major Chicago media channels, CBS and WGN, have confirmed to cover the rally.

The Day of Action was an idea of the Illinois Student Association to educate students about the state of higher education funding by persuading them to take action to see that funding is returned to an appropriate level.