University Council approves $160 million budget


President John G. Peters with the Committee on Resources, Space, and Budgets (CRSB) discussed the budget process and the allocation of fiscal resources at the NIU university Council meeting on Wednesday afternoon in the HSC Skyroom. Mr. Peters reiterated NIU as a “student centered, and research based institution”. Topics discussed included overall budget, student enrollment, campus sustainability and infrastructure, employee compensation, and NIU’s Vision 2020.

By Kevin Steiger

University Council (UC) approved President John Peters’ proposal to utilize more than $160 million for different occasions across campus, including renovations, at its meeting Wednesday.

Eddie Williams, executive vice president and chief of operations, said all the new facilities will be completed by their planned completion dates. He said the Chessick Practice Center and Gilbert Hall projects will stay on budget. Williams also reported that there are plans to renovate the Stevens Building and convert a portion of the old Holmes Student Center into a cafe.

Williams said these projections are important for enrollment and retention, academic improvement, and the need to focus on essential maintenance.

Portions of the $160 million will also go toward repaying the MAC for what it spent when NIU went to the Orange Bowl. Peters’ proposal said $500,000 will go toward the hotels and cost to send students and staff to the game. Any leftover funds will be shared through the MAC and NIU Athletics.

Michael Malone, vice president of university advancement, reported that 2 percent of the $163.4 million was raised through faculty donations. The True North campaign, which began in 2007 to assist in raising funding for NIU, generated a total of $339,377 from 1,086 donors, according to the UC agenda.

Peters said it is too soon to tell where NIU stands in terms of enrollment for the spring 2013 semester. However, after the Orange Bowl, applications increased, according to the UC agenda.

Following the budget discussion, Alan Rosenbaum, UC executive secretary and psychology professor, made an announcement in regard to the progress of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee (PSAC). Of 48 applicants, the final six to eight interviews to find Peters’ replacement will be held on March 7 and 8, Rosenbaum said.

After the interviews are completed, Rosenbaum said about four candidates will be selected to go in front of the Board of Trustees for the final selection processes. The new president of NIU will be chosen by July 1.

Representatives from the Student Association (SA) Senate appeared in front of the council to report on their issues with the SA budget. SA has had problems with funding for the Huskie Transit System.

The representatives reported the cost of the Huskie Bus System has increased. This increase is due to the inflation of gas prices, said Delonte LeFlore, SA president and senior organizational and corporate communication major. LeFlore also told the council about the SA’s plans.

“We’re working on buying a program called OrgSync,” LeFlore said. “It will allow SA to conduct different organizations on campus much easier.”

OrgSync facilitates engagement by connecting students to organizations, departments and programs through its web-hosted platform, according to OrgSync’s website.

“It will also allow us to do online voting,” LeFlore said.

Peters also brought up how hectic Tuesday’s winter storm was. It led to the cancelation of classes due to weather for the first time since February 2011.

“I would like to thank the faculty who worked over night,” Peters said. “I would like to especially thank the heating plant and plowing. They were on top of their game before the storm hit.”

Rosenbaum said that outstanding service award recommendations for graduate teaching assistants are due March 1. Rosenbaum said if there is any faculty member who has shown outstanding work in his or her department, his or her name would be forwarded to the council for further review.