November 30, 1998
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
SC.99.05 Report on Meeting of the Board of Trustees, October, 1998
The Board of Trustees held its October 1998 meeting on the Urbana campus on October 15 and 16, in the Pine Lounge of the Illini Union. The meeting began with a Meeting of the Board as a Committee of the Whole, during which recommended tuition and fees for FY 2000 were presented by Vice Presidents Manning and Bazzani. Manning discussed policies governing tuition charges preliminary to presenting the recommendations of the central administration. She observed that some comparisons made of increases in tuition and fees to increases in other indexes (e.g., rate of inflation, cost of living) are inappropriate, because they typically reflect both goods and services, whereas our budget is 85% services. In this light she argued that the proposed increases are quite reasonable. She further observed that the gap between GRF (General Revenue Fund) funding from the state and actual costs per student is increasing, leaving tuition increases as our only available recourse. Ours is to increase 4%, while at the other two campuses it is to increase 3% (with graduate tuition increasing more at UIC).
The three Provosts then made statements supposedly indicating what uses would be made of the funds generated by the increases. Elizabeth Hoffman (UIC) mentioned virtually everything being done with tuition dollars on the Chicago campus. Wayne Penn (UIS) gave a more focused response. He indicated that it would depend somewhat on whether approval of their proposed four-year program is given by the IBHE. He suggested, however, that even if approval were to be forthcoming within the next few months, the first class of first-year students probably would not be admitted until the fall of 2000. Some Trustees made comments indicating a desire for a stronger push for approval to be made. President Stukel stressed the need to proceed with care, and to coordinate efforts with Keith Sanders, the new Director of the IBHE.
The comments for this campus were delivered by Tom Mengler, whose service as Interim Provost had just ended, since it was during his service that our budget plans for FY 2000 had been developed. Mengler's comments on the reasons for and proposed uses of the funds to be generated by the increases were preceded by remarks by Chancellor Aiken, who introduced new Provost Richard Herman and thanked Mengler for his service, as also did Stukel. Mengler was accorded applause. Herman made a few brief remarks and then turned things over to Mengler.
Following Mengler's comments, Vice President Bazzani discussed proposed fee increases. Three basic types of fees were discussed: service fees, general fees, and health service fees. There was some discussion between Bazzani and the Trustees of the "full retail" cost of an academic year for an undergraduate at our campuses, and extended discussion of the processes that were or might be used to get input from students on fee increases.
The Board then shifted to a Meeting of the Committee on Finance and Audit. The Chair of this Committee, Trustee Reese, presided. Bazzani, at Board request, discussed contracting procedures for professional and artistic services. He also discussed the new procurement law, which now requires a complex approval process for anything over $20K. This presents problems and is cumbersome; but he observed that most procurements are below that threshold. Bob Baker (Urbana) was introduced, and walked the Trustees through the process that must now be followed. A new development is that purchases less than $5K can still (once again) be handled at the department level. Those in the $5-20K range do not require procedures as complex and formal as those over $20K, but must still go through a more informal version of the newly mandated process. Bidding also is now required in many such cases. (There are some exceptions, even for purchases over $20K, e.g. in cases of emergency-which nonetheless must be reported and justified-and where there is demonstrably a sole source.) Construction-related expenses were also discussed, as was minority contracting, and the hiring of outside legal counsels. At the conclusion of the morning session Geneva Belford reported on activities of the Senates Conference, after which the Trustees adjourned for lunch and a tour of the South Farms. (Thanks to Geneva Belford for notes taken in my absence on the items covered in these two paragraphs.)
At 3 PM, there was a reception for the purposes of enabling "faculty representatives" (i.e. Urbana Senate Council and Senates Conference members) to meet informally with the Trustees. Turnout was light on the part of the Trustees; but it was generally agreed that this reception was a useful innovation. That evening, in another innovation, a small number of "faculty leaders" from the Urbana campus were invited to join the Trustees and General Officers for dinner at the President's residence. These attempts to foster interaction of Trustees and faculty in leadership and shared governance positions are a welcome development, for which Board Chair Gravenhorst deserves credit.
The Board Meeting reconvened in Executive Session at 8:30 AM on the following morning (October 16). At 9:30 a Public Comment Session followed, during which Bill Winneshiek spoke critically of the administration's conduct of several affairs relating to concerns of Native American students. Two subsequent speakers-Ms. Jean Edwards, for Citizens for Chief Illiniwek, and former Associate Dean (Engineering) Howard Wakeland-presented petitions with thousands of signatures in support of the retention of the "symbol." Wakeland also was critical of the way in which the petition passed by the Senate calling for the retirement of the "Chief" was handled. Finally, Maaria Moziffar, President of the Student Government at UIC, expressed concern about the uses to be made of their Pepsi contract money, and urged that at least a portion of it be used for their campus library. She made an impassioned appeal for increased funding for their library.
I then gave a report on activities of the Urbana Senate. The main items covered were among those discussed in the 1997-98 Annual Report of Senate Council, with updates. There were some questions from Trustees, focusing mainly on library issues.
During the General Discussion period that followed, there were several questions from Trustees on various budget items. A meeting of the Committee on Student Affairs was then convened, and (student) Trustee Gallo introduced a presentation on diversity. He called upon representatives of a group called TEAM (Together Encouraging the Appreciation of Multiculturalism) to make the presentation, which the Trustees seemed to find appealing. This was followed by another session of the Board, during which another presentation was made, by Professor Brenda Eheart of this campus on her "Hope for the Children" program in Rantoul. It involves providing families willing to provide foster homes for at-risk children with housing at the erstwhile air base, along with extensive support services. The program is receiving considerable national attention, and is beginning to be imitated elsewhere. The Trustees were quite taken with the presentation.
Rather than recessing for lunch, the Board pressed on into the remainder of its agenda. Kirk Hard gave a report on the political and budgetary situation in Springfield, saying (among other things) that there is some hope of a supplemental allocation for higher education, which would enable us to do more by way of funding our top facilities and program priorities, and also that efforts are being made to effect changes in the procurement act. The "5 + 5" early retirement initiative was discussed, but Hard had no sense of its chances of being adopted, and observed that the university has not taken a position on the matter but is studying it. Some of the Trustees were very interested in this issue.
President Stukel gave his usual "good news flashes" (one from each of the three campuses, as usual). Trustee Lamont reported that there may soon be an announcement on a new athletic facility, but declined to say which one. The three student Trustees then made their reports. All dealt with fees in one way or another. These reports were followed by the Roll Call votes. Among them were the confirmation of the appointments of a new Dean of Applied Life Studies in Urbana (Tanya Gallagher) and new university-level Executive Director of Public Affairs (Susan Trebach). All items voted upon were passed unanimously. Springfield is getting more money for new student housing, Chicago is getting remodeled locker rooms, and we are getting a contract for the first phase of a steam tunnel project (!). It was announced that the next meeting of the Board will take place in Springfield on November 18 and 19, and that the Board will meet in Urbana again on March 3 and 4. And with that the meeting was adjourned.
Observer for the Urbana Campus Senate