Letter to the Editor: Student Governance


Physical Plant’s flood cleanup applauded

I want to congratulate and thank the staff of the NIU Physical Plant for all they have done and are continuing to do in the aftermath of campus flooding. They have been working around the clock to get all classrooms and office space on campus ready for the start of classes.

The Art Building was particularly hard-hit, and the crews are continuing their efforts to ready the classrooms for later this week.

I am deeply humbled by their dedication and tireless efforts. My hat’s off to all involved in the massive cleanup effort.

Rich Holly

Acting director, School of Art

By Sid Kincaid



In 1968, a President’s Committee published a “Final Report On Student Governance.” This committee had three tasks: identify the rights and responsibilities of students in regard to conduct and academic pursuits; recommend structures and procedures for the formation of regulations governing student conduct and propose structures and procedures for the adjudication of student disciplinary cases.

I want to call attention to a couple of excerpts from it:

“The University should abandon its efforts to supervise off-campus social events. Groups should not be required to register or seek approval for such events. The sponsoring organization should assume responsibility for observing that its members and guests meet the standards defined for all citizens by the civil and criminal laws.”

“Students who violate the law may incur penalties prescribed by civil authorities, but institutional authority should never be used merely to duplicate the function of general laws. If it were, this clearly would place the student under what is commonly called “double jeopardy.” Most obvious there is no basis for university action when a student violates a traffic or parking law. Less obviously, but under this same principle, there is no basis for university action in such misdemeanors as petty theft, underage drinking, or drunkenness occurring off campus.”

The Division of Student Affairs is operating under the assumption that they may function in loco parentis – a Latin phrase meaning “In the place of a parent.” This is a regressive philosophy, and it is wrong. I would like to invite the Greek community, the Student Association and the student body to obtain a copy of this report from the university archives and review it in preparation for future discussions with the administration. It is surprising how much of it seems relevant to the controversies of today, 50 years after its publication.

You know that old saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Well, there is more that leads up to it: “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual.”