Illinois State University’s Board of Trustees extends contract with Connect Transit, approves Asian Grill on campus.

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BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL, Ill. — Several Board of Trustee members came together at Illinois State University, Saturday, and unanimously approved two pending topics before the year ends.

The first item to be passed was the construction of an Asian Grill and Noodle Bar, Star Ginger, on the campus’ Bone Student Center.

Eric Jome, director of media relations, said the $1.3 million dollar project is being financed through bond revenue. He also said this restaurant was in high demand as many students and faculty members were asking for it.

“It was something that was really requested by a lot of students and faculty and staff that they would like to see a restaurant like that go into the Bone Student Center,” Jome said.

Jome mentioned the construction of Star Ginger is apart of the university’s revitalization project that’s been years in the making. He said the one-time capital cost of $1.3 million dollars will cover the cost of a production kitchen, serving area and graphics package.

He said the restaurant is expected to start construction in the summer of 2020 and should be finished by the beginning of the fall semester.

The second, and final, item that was approved was the six-month contract extension between the university and Connect Transit (formerly the Bloomington-Normal Public Transit System).

The board agreed to pay a 4% increase, which is a $48,178 monthly cost to continue the service. Jome said this agreement extends the contract until June of 2020 and will cost a total of $289,068 which will be paid out of student fees.

He said in the meantime, the transportation service is still free for ISU students, staff and faculty members and the university’s staff will continue negotiations to extend the contract for the future.

“In the Spring semester, our ISU staff will continue to meet with the Connect Transit staff to work out terms for a longer-term contract,” Jome said.

In the mix of the board’s meeting, there were also several work unions, including the recently formed Graduate Workers Union, present and expressing concerns about their wages, student fees, and working conditions.

Trevor Rickerd, a teaching assistant and 4th Ph.D. candidate in the School of Biological Science, is an active member of GWU and said the fees some graduate students are charged exceed what the university pays them.

Rickerd also said the news of ISU’s president Larry Dietz possibly receiving a $50,000 bonus seemed unusual.

“We figured that this was a ‘misprioritization’ of capital of the university and that we would rather see funding to help out graduate workers that are in tough situations,” Rickerd said.

However, Jome said the university will continue doing what they can to make sure they maintain a good relationship with all workers unions on campus.

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