Sensibility lacked

On Tuesday, Jan. 28, The Northern Star published an editorial titled “NIU’s budget already stretched.” It, and the accompanying cartoon, weighed the consequences of federal mandates, handicapped-accessible classrooms, and shrinking class offerings.

The editorial—which placed some of the blame for NIU’s shrinking class roster on the need for handicapped-accessible classrooms—lacked sensible argument, smacked of prejudice, and is an affront to students with disabilities. “Truly special students”—please. Students who are disabled aren’t asking for special treatment. They are asking for a fair shake in society.

That fair shake comes via the Disabilities Act of 1990; a federally-mandated program working to equalize the inequities people with disabilities face every day.

The argument that NIU’s educational program is financially strapped because of the needs of students with disabilities is unfounded. Funds for education and building projects are separate. NIU doesn’t take money from the one fund to offset costs in the other.

Of consequence here is the ignorance that the Star perpetuates by placing labels on students with disabilities, and making misplaced accusations of guilt.

There are competent professors in the journalism department who teach students the importance of thoroughly researching a subject before expounding on it. I would like to think the editorial staff at the Star, some of whom hope to be employed as journalists after graduation, write researched and balanced editorials.

But the editorial “NIU’s budget already stretched” is not a convincing argument for that hypothesis. Perhaps, the students on the editorial board need to devote more time to their journalism classes. Maybe then, they will have a better understanding of the editorial process.

Penny Baird


Journalism Major