SA senate speaker criticizes Regents

By Ken Goze

If statements by Student Association Senate Speaker Mike Starzec are any indication of student attitudes, the Board of Regents is not welcome at NIU.

Starzec, speaking at the board’s Thursday meeting, served up some of the most inflammatory criticism heard during the latest attempt to disband the Regents. Starzec said students and faculty are disgusted with the Regents’ performance and suggested students come to view the “board of rats.”

Starzec said students support a proposed bill sponsored by State Rep. Michael Weaver, R-Ashmore, to disband the Regents and Board of Governors. He said the Regents have ignored the needs of students and faculty while taking pains to keep administration happy.

“We know that after a nuclear blast everything will die, but rats, roaches and other vermin will be left. Many students have told me that some of the vermin may be the BOR. They also say you won’t lose your jobs. You can still be the BOR— the board of rats,” Starzec said.

He said the Regents’ action giving NIU President John La Tourette retirement benefits worth $8,500 in a year when faculty received only $150 to offset insurance hikes shows contempt for the people who make up the backbone of a university.

“What angered us most is you called the $8,500 as much of a token as the $150. By your actions, the students feel you support the administration while ignoring the people that allow the university to exist,” Starzec said.

Starzec said the board hasn’t actively lobbied for NIU’s interests in Springfield, citing La Tourette’s repeated suggestions to change the state tuition allocation system to keep money under campus control. “This should have been an action taken on your own initiative,” he said.

The Regents did not respond to the scathing remarks, but Regents Chairman Brewster Parker said the board is not opposed to a good-faith comprehensive review of higher education governance.

“I think now people are discussing the possibility of rethinking the whole system and not just the BOR and the BOG.

“We have no opposition to a study which might come to the conclusion that we should be (dismantled),” he said.

Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves said he has adopted a wait-and-see attitude toward the bill, noting that attempts are made to disband the Regents almost annually.

“We refer to it as our ‘rite of spring.'”