New student Regent confronts NIU issues

By Brian Slupski

New student Regent John R. Butler confronted the various issues facing NIU in an interview Tuesday.

Among the issues discussed were the guidelines developed by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, by which the quality and productivity of programs at state schools are to be judged.

The guidelines include the cost of the program, the number of majors enrolled in it and the number of non-major credit hours generated by the program.

Butler said he hopes programs are not indiscriminately cut based on their numbers.

He said there are many small programs of vital importance to students that should not be judged solely by the IBHE criteria.

Butler said the relative arguments of the programs have been taken into consideration in the evaluation of the programs.

“Some of the small programs at NIU provide the students with a vital resource and keeps them at this institution.

“The criteria may not be representative of the value of the programs to students,” Butler said.

However, Butler added that “some cuts do have to take place. It’s no one’s fault. Not the administration or the Regents. It is the fault of the legislature which does not make higher education a priority.”

Butler said if push comes to shove and a choice has to be made between academic programs and NIU’s athletic program, he would rather see the athletic program cut than academics.

“I do believe athletics has an integral role in higher education. But I hate to see money spent on the promotion of the athletic program at the expense of academics,” Butler said.

Butler said one of the most important things now is that students on campus register to vote and come for local, state and national elections.

“In my opinion we must give the Board of Regents, the President and the Student Association the ability to say ‘I’ve got 25,000 students ready to cast their votes for whoever supports funding for higher education,'” Butler said.

He said presently only 40 percent of the funding for the BOR system comes from taxes. The rest comes from tuition, fees and outside sources.

Butler said the SA has a voter registration committee and plans to begin voter registration drives. He said with the help of the SA and organizations like the College Republicans and the Young Democrats, he hopes to expose students to issues.

Butler said voting on the issue of education is the responsibility of every student.