Cole Hall to reopen this spring

By Matt Liparota

It’s official: Cole Hall will reopen as a classroom building for the spring 2012 semester, as discussed in a Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday.

The building, closed since the Feb. 14, 2008 shootings and currently under renovation, will begin housing classes when students return from winter break in January, said David Goldblum, spokesperson for the Faculty Senate Resources, Space and Budgets Committee. An open house for the building is scheduled Feb. 14, 2012.

Austin Quick, Student Association Senate Speaker, updated the Senate on projects the organization is working on. The SA wants to address the lack of a student grievance policy at NIU, Quick said.

“We’re currently looking at other schools and benchmarking them,” Quick said.

He said the SA is analyzing how schools that have adopted grievance policies are doing and why some schools decided not to adopt policies.

This is not the first time a grievance policy has been discussed by the Senate; an ad-hoc committee was formed to address the issue a few years ago, said Faculty Senate President Alan Rosenbaum.

“It was an unwieldy committee,” Rosenbaum said. “Nothing came out of it.”

Such policies need to be addressed carefully to avoid students exploiting the policy to retaliate against instructors they don’t like, Rosenbaum said.

“I know it was an item that was not high on our list … partly because it’s such a difficult issue,” Rosenbaum said.

Quick said he intends to discuss the grievance policy before University Council when it meets Nov. 30.

Quick also expressed concern over bond revenue from tuition going to campus facilities. NIU students are charged $35 per credit hour to go to various facilities on campus, including the Holmes Student Center and the Campus Recreation Center.

Quick said $12 of each $35 goes to the HSC and said students pay $5.8 million of the facility’s $5.9 million budget.

The problem, Quick said, comes when utilizing meeting spaces or equipment. In order for the SA to obtain microphones for weekly SA Senate meetings, Quick said the organization has to rent them at $5 apiece. He said this policy stands for faculty as well, noting the $5 charge also applies to Faculty Senate.

Quick said those expenses are already built into the HSC budget.

“We already own the building,” Quick said. “Why are we paying twice?”

Quick said the issue wasn’t giving money back to students, but rather ensuring students receive the most value possible out of their tuition dollars.