Il. House bill could increase faculty representation on board

Board of Trustees members have mixed feelings toward an Illinois House bill sponsored by state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-103, which would increase faculty representation on the board.

If passed, the bill will increase the number of trustees from 12 to 15. The additional trustees will include one faculty representative from each University campus.

Trustee Frances Carroll said if the bill gets passed there will be practically no change to the board.

“I’ve been on an academic committee for five years and we get input from the faculty before every meeting,” Carroll said.

Carroll said the board has not discussed the bill since it was introduced into the Illinois General Assembly. She said the faculty she has spoken with did not want to be part of the board.

Jakobsson said she thinks faculty do want to be involved.

“There’s a difference between sitting on the sidelines and being able to play the game,” she said. “The faculty wants a place at the table.”

David Dorris, a former trustee who resigned during the University’s admissions scandal, said he does not believe the bill will provide anything meaningful.

“It is a stupid, knee-jerk reaction by Jakobsson to placate her constituency,” Dorris said. “The last thing we need is a faculty member on the board.”

Dorris said faculty are paid employees of the state and should not be in charge of governing themselves.

“The faculty may think they own the University but they don’t,” Dorris said. “It belongs to the state.”

Matt Reschke, student trustee and senior in LAS, said he talked to Jakobsson about the bill and believes faculty representation would not be a bad thing.

“It never hurts to have extra opinions at the table,” Reschke said. “It will make for a more balanced board which is a stronger board.”

Jakobsson said the bill has nothing to do with the clout scandal.

She said she has been working with the Campus Faculty Association on this issue for two years.

Jakobsson said the House has not set a time for a vote on this bill, but that it will happen soon after legislators go back into session in January.

“We have a lot of other things to cover before then,” Jakobsson said. “I’ll talk to my colleagues and promote the bill.”

Dorris said he believes it has no chance of passing, but Reschke said he believes it will pass despite some opposition.

Jakobsson said the bill will most likely go through some changes before anything is passed.

“We think we have a good bill here,” Jakobsson said. “But we want to make sure we don’t create something we did not intend to create.”

The legislation will also set faculty trustees’ terms at two years while other trustees’ terms remain at six years, Jakobsson said.

“It’s going to bring a broader perspective to the board,” Jakobsson said. “And that’s always a good thing.”