Return to NIU is like Benchley horror story

Just when you thought it was safe to leave for summer (Jaws theme music, please)…


The NIU administration bit us on our collective butts.

During the summer as the Star relaxed and the Student Association hibernated, the little pixies of Lowden Hall ran amok.

Now, as fall is supposed to start and students are waking up from that dreamy wonderland called summer vacation, it’s time to pay the piper.

As we rejoin our story, the time is late April and the Board of Regents along with NIU administrators are being very vague and cryptic about the impending tuition increase. Gov. Jim Edgar had recommended a 4 percent tuition hike in his budget address. Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves declined to say how much the Regents would raise tuition, only hinting that it might be slightly higher than the good guvna’s figure. We all knew it was coming, we just didn’t know how much or when. You see, the Regents had not discussed the subject as they normally do at their April meeting. No, they waited until finals were over and everyone was relaxing at home to broach the subject.

And broach the subject they did—to the tune of a whopping 21 percent tuition increase. Hey, I’d even prepared for a double-digit increase, one in the low tens. But 21 percent? What galls me though is that the students didn’t even have a chance to speak out. The Regents didn’t even listen. This William H. Vanderbiltesque “the students be damned” attitude is really disturbing. It shows an utter lack of respect for the student body of this campus.

What’s even worse is that they tried to spin doctor the entire increase. They called it a 10 percent increase. Yeah, for students taking 12 hours or less. Now, how many students take 12 hours or less? If you want to get out of here in four years you have to take at least 15 a semester and you’re still four short of the 124 hour requirement. Oh well, at least we didn’t get a 37 percent tuition hike like SIU did.

The dreaded and decidedly unneeded Campus Life Building was rammed through at the July Regents meeting quicker than you can blink. It seemed the project was on the back-burner because of the recession and the vociferous student opposition led by last year’s SA.

But the students went home and “Fast” Eddie Williams, NIU’s money man, lived up to his nickname once again. The corker on this one is that the NIU administration kept pulling this project off the table. Students who took the time to speak before the Regents didn’t have a chance to state their opposing views because the project wasn’t up for approval.

A shrewd move by the administration, to be sure, but yet another example of how they don’t give a damn about the students’ views. The patronizing, pat-on-the-head, we-know-what’s-in-your-best-interests attitude of the NIU brass really sickens me. Not to mention that real need for this building was never shown, enrollment is down and the entire project smacks of monument building.

So, only one question remains. Now that they’ve bitten our collective rumps and made them sore, do you think there’s enough money in that budget to buy every student a tube of Preparation H?