University address familiar

NIU President John La Tourette opened his midyear state of the university address Tuesday saying he was sorry for delivering the speech.

His apology is not accepted.

La Tourette said nothing new. He used a lot of big words and described complicated situations, but his message was old: The university’s in a budget crisis, it won’t get better and we must take drastic measures.

The president called for such expected and typical things as cutting and eliminating programs, looking for new sources of income and figuring out how to be more efficient.

Haven’t we heard this before? For years, this university has had to struggle with tight budgets and finding ways to get through them. Successes and survival rates can be read over and over but success and survival just isn’t enough.

La Tourette told his audience he thinks NIU can emerge a stronger school after the budget crisis fades, but that seems impossible. The scrimping and reallocation of funds he’s planning seem like nothing more than big-word explanations of how to climb out of money problems without real answers. Where’s the substance?

The president didn’t need to say Tuesday that things are bad and won’t get better. That’s understood. Instead, he should have explained his $10,000 “gift” from the Board of Regents and where the state came up with $20 million for Faraday II when everything else is getting cut and tuition is on the way up.

Don’t apologize for the speech, President La Tourette. Apologize for the situation. Then, we might accept.