La Tourette discusses budget

By Jami Peterson

NIU President John La Tourette urged faculty and students Tuesday to hold hands and weather the budget storm blowing through NIU.

In an unexpected state of the budget at midyear address, La Tourette outlined his plans to keep the university above water in spite of a recent $3.7 million budget cut.

A full crowd in the Holmes Student Center’s Carl Sandburg Auditorium listened as La Tourette stressed the need to “reduce or eliminate” some activities and to loosen the tight budget situation by finding new sources of external funding over the next two to three years.

“This is not the time for panic or infighting, but for a combined, concerted effort working under our system of shared governance, so that we can emerge through these difficult times as an even greater and stronger institution,” La Tourette said.

Although he remains very optimistic about NIU’s ability to pull through, La Tourette said the state has “lagged behind the national economy in both the downswing and upswing” leaving no significant growth in tax revenues for at least 18 to 24 months.

Because of the recision, no new services will be added without eliminating or modifying present programs, productivity must increase, work habits and practices will have to change and the use of money will have to be reevaluated, he said.

Weary of a permanent $2.6 million recision in 1993, La Tourette listed the following plans: to work with each division in rearranging budget priorities to fit long-term needs, to establish a university-wide committee which will provide a “4.25 percent salary increment pool” and to “focus and strengthen” academic affairs by reallocating at least $3 million.

La Tourette assured faculty no funds will be removed from academic affairs, which also will receive any leftover monies.

Despite budget worries, he said NIU received funds for Faraday II, a new Chemistry and Physics research facility, and a $150 lump-sum payment will be given to all faculty.