U-C Senate holds first meeting of academic year

By Nick Zombolas

The Urbana-Champaign Senate held their first meeting of the academic year Monday afternoon at Foellinger Auditorium.

Interim chancellor Richard Herman began the session with the theme for this year’s senate to keep in mind.

“(This is a) year of progress and achievement for our institution,” he said.

After the approval of the minutes from its April 26 meeting, the senate discussed University revenue.

For the first time, the University received more revenue from tuition, than from the state revenue fund. The University is the only one of the three University of Illinois institutions experiencing this trend. Both the University of Illinois at Chicago and at Springfield received more funds from state revenue, Herman said.

As a result, the University is much more dependent on the money received from student tuition, he said. Determinations for the 2005-2006 tuition are scheduled to be made November.

However, Herman also said the University has had an increase in enrollment, which leads to more tuition received. As of Sept. 21, the enrollment of the freshman class was 7,248 students – 447 more freshmen than the year before. Herman also said this year’s freshman class is the most-qualified class to enter the University. This statement is based on the class’ mean ACT score of 27.7.

Despite this news, Herman discussed concerns about the decrease of African-American and Latino enrollment. This year, African-American enrollment decreased by 200 students, and Latino enrollment is down 20 students. Herman said it is the University’s intent to stop this trend.

The impact of Chief Illiniwek on the University was also discussed. Despite previous determinations that Chief Illiniwek is harmful to the University’s educational effectiveness, Herman called for a new study on the topic.

After approving new committee members for the Standing Committee of the Senate and the Military Education Council, members expressed concerns over a previous proposal that would require online courses for graduation. This proposal also called for all faculty members to be required to teach at least one on-line course.

Once discussions of amendments to the general rules concerning University organization and procedures were concluded, the meeting began its executive session. During the session, the senate was scheduled to consider nominations from the Senate Committee for honorary degrees.