Ready, aim, fire

A draft report on the efficiency of NIU’s governing board, the Board of Regents, has materialized.

The report was missing in action for about 364 days before being released by the Regents.

The Regents originally claimed the report, which was compiled by an independent group and cost taxpayers $41,000, didn’t exist. The board had said that the report was only given orally to the board. Now the report not only exists, but it is 75 pages in length and there is still more to come.

The Regents have been caught in a lie, and the result is a public relations nightmare for a board many feel should be eliminated. Thus far nothing negative has come out of the report, but one can only assume that there was something to hide.

There must have been for the Regents to possibly violate the Illinois Open Meetings Act by receiving the report in secret and then keep its contents a secret for as long as possible (several newspapers were planning to file under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act for the reports contents).

It’s time for the Regents to stop playing games and come clean. If the Regents had played it straight from the beginning and weathered any criticism the report leveled the Regents would have appeared to be seriously looking at its role in higher education and looking for improvements.

Now the board appears to be a sneaky, clandestine operation which really isn’t efficient, knows it and is trying to cover its tracks.

The Regents’ behavior would seem to confirm Lt. Gov. Bob Kustra’s worse criticisms, that the Regents are inefficient, a waste of money and not good for higher education and that the Regents are more concerned about image than in real change in higher education.

Kustra, who tried to eliminate the Regents last year but failed, now has the ammunition to reload and begin firing fresh new shots this coming legislative session. This time the Regents might be mortally wounded.

Start firing, Kustra, the target is ready.