Students first

In my last letter I jokingly stated that I doubted that being zero funded by the President’s Fee Study Committee would hinder the paper’s coverage on Student Association matters—reports on the management of our office appear to prove my joke correct.

Over the past two weeks I have been asked to produce three in-house documents to the Star for their scrutiny: (1) the sign-in book the SA Chief of Staff uses to account for time spent in the office by advisers, (2) the operations budget of the SA and (3) a list of committees the SA is responsible for filling at the university level. This unprecedented request for information following the zero-funding of the Star can only be related.

As I have readily told the Star, the sign-in book is for “advisers.” Executives sign in for their own purposes to determine hours spent on specific projects or for future planning purposes. It is “our” policy to determine the extent to which our advisers work in the office. Considerably more time is spent by our advisers in committee meetings, Senate meetings and public appearances which will not usually show in this book. This is an in-house policy and the Star has simply used it to make it appear that I do not fulfill my hours at the office. Nothing could be farther from the truth; I am sure no former or present adviser who has worked under my administration would testify that I have not met my responsibility. What is even more offensive is that the Star actually expects the NIU students to believe I make $19.50. I am proud that at least one of my opponents believed that this was untrue.

The request for an operations budget just throws me. Aside from some procedural changes made to foster better accountability, no changes were made here which would cause one to doubt the integrity of our office. Especially since all changes at this level are approved by the senate. I see a chart or graph of some type in the future with percentages of how much money our advisers receive. This will most assuredly be an information item followed by some creation of a story just to make us look bad again.

My responsibility to fill university committees is not nearly as large as some would expect; I have one of the strongest records for insuring student representation on committees. If the Star wants to do a story on position-filling, why don’t they concentrate on the University Council By-law I have presented to the UC for consideration and implementation at the April University Council meeting. This by-law will insure full student representation on the most important council at the university.

This attempt to discredit my name and the integrity of my administration is not the act of the entire staff of the Star. Some are still upset that we chose to not forget the opinion of over 450 student athletes; some are still upset that we responded to the Star’s faculty adviser’s admission that student fees were not needed, by simply not allocation those fees to their annual reserve fund and some staff at the Star believe a story about an in-house sign-in book is more important than our efforts to insure student representation on the UC. All I can say is that there will be a time when these staff members will remember that they are students first, reporters second. Some day they will realize their efforts at discrediting the SA is only serving them, not the NIU student body.


SA President