Board’s resolution

deserves applause

The Board of Regents adopted a resolution Friday which clearly expresses to the legislature and Gov. Thompson the Regents’ objections to the base budget cuts directed at the Regency universities.

There are a lot of people who would say that this is definitely not something that will help the Regents in Springfield. After all, the governor appointed these people to the board in the first place. And the legislators have final say about who gets what in higher education funding.

Certain local representatives might repeat criticisms that the Regents don’t understand the political process in Springfield. Some people might even call it political suicide. And it’s certainly true that the Regents probably haven’t made lifelong pals of the people they have criticized.

But the Regents’ mission in this time of crisis is not to play nice and tell the governor and the legislature that what they’ve done was all right. Their mission is to demand from the governor and the legislature the support required to operate quality public universities.

The Regents have received a great deal of criticism recently. There even has been a bill introduced in the legislature to oust the Regents and create a separate governing board for NIU. One of the criticisms leveled at the Regents is that they are more concerned with their own political well-being than with NIU’s well-being.

Now that they’ve put NIU (and the other Regency schools) before themselves, people will probably accuse the Regents of hurting any chance to get more funding from Springfield “because the legislators will be angry.” These are the same critics who say the Regents have been too soft in Springfield—that they’ve simply accepted what was given and never insisted on more.

These are also the same critics who always point to University of Illinois as an example of why NIU needs a separate board. U of I’s governing body has historically “shown some backbone” and insisted on fighting the legislature for every thin dime—and no one can deny that they’ve gotten it. No one tells U of I to be careful not to upset legislators.

The Board of Regents should be applauded for their resolution. They have answered their critics—and answered them well.