NIU’s budget already stretched

What’s more important—handicapped accessibility or having classes to attend in the first place?

Washington continues to saddle public universities with federally-mandated programs such as the Disabilities Act of 1990, which requires full accessibility for students with disabilities.

This would be great, if they supplied the money to deal with these requirements. NIU’s budget is already stretched to its limits. NIU President John La Tourette and Eddie Williams, vice president of Finance and Planning, have had to juggle this year’s continually shrinking state allocation as if they were sideshow performers. There are so many competing interests and the dynamic duo has to pacify each one.

As a result of such basic needs as faculty salary and instructional costs, there is little room in the NIU pocketbook to address problems such as accessibility.

Right now, NIU will be lucky if it can offer enough summer classes to allow the August graduates to get out of here on time. Next year’s budget looks like it will actually decrease, so we can only hold our collective breath as to what the fall will bring.

The bottom line is, while it would be nice to make the campus fully accessible for disabled students, recruit more minorities by offering greater financial aid, and generally make NIU a shiny, happy utopia where everyone held hands and danced and sung, the money pie has been shrinking.

It would be great to make life as easy as possible for these truly special students. But in the big picture, only a small percentage of NIU is disabled. NIU is here primarily to deliver education to as many students as it can.

Handicapped students will just have to tighten their belts like the rest of the campus.