SA plans for protest

By Megan Knowles

The Student Association plans to protest the pending tuition increase as well as the lengthy time it takes most NIU students to graduate at Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting.

SA Senate Speaker Michael Starzec said the major reason for the protest is because NIU students cannot graduate in four years.

“We plan to have a number of speakers, such as me, (SA President) Preston (Came), and other members of the senate or executive staff that would like to speak,” Starzec said.

Starzec said the protest will move into the elevator lobby when the BOR breaks for lunch. “Hopefully, we will have a hallway full of people with signs, yelling at them, screaming at them, letting them know that students aren’t as apathetic as they hope we are,” he said.

“Our big plan is to block the Pheasant Room so they can’t eat lunch. We figure that will really tick them off,” Starzec said.

The plan was created by the combined efforts of Starzec, Came, SA Public Relations Adviser Rebecca Bahr and SA Vice President John Quilico. “We all got together and decided we wanted to do something really big for this BOR meeting,” Starzec said.

He said students have been complaining to the SA because they cannot graduate in four years. “We’ve had administrators say in committee meetings that ‘Students don’t want to graduate in four years.’ When asked how do they know that, they just know,” Starzec said.

He said he hopes the protest will demonstrate that the SA is in tune with student needs, to show the Regents that students are not apathetic and to make the Regents consistent with its title.

“They are the BOR of the universities, which means they are not only involved with administration, but all aspects: faculty, students and administration. They play favorites when it comes to the administration,” he said.

Student Regent James Mertes said he agrees with the SA protest. “Students should be able to graduate in four years. And of course, I agree with Mike Starzec or any other individual who says that he or she is upset about the fact that students cannot graduate from this institution in four years given the current course offerings. I whole-heartedly endorse those views.

“I also stand strongly against any pending tuition increase. The protesters will be stating their outrage about the current financial condition of higher education in the state of Illinois (and) I will be agreeing with them,” Mertes said.

“We hope for a large turnout because in addition to speakers, we are going to have signs, handouts and handbills,” Starzec said.