Committees review items up for vote on Board of Trustees agenda


Brian Bauer

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees holds a meeting at the Illini Union on Jan. 18, 2017.

By Angelica LaVito , Staff Writer

The Board of Trustees will meet on Thursday in Chicago. Some of the policies were reviewed in committees on Wednesday before the board votes.

Tuition and fees

The Academic and Student Affairs committee approved proposed tuition rates, which included a freeze for new Illinois resident undergraduate students.

If approved, this would be the third consecutive year the University has held the current rate.

It would be the longest consecutive freeze the system has imposed in 40 years, according to Barb Wilson, executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs. Tuition would increase 1.8 percent for non-resident and international students.

“I want to remind us all that we don’t know how long we can do this because as long as the state has unpredictable funding, especially for higher education, we don’t know what the future will hold,” Wilson said.

Background checks

The University implemented a background check policy for some prospective employees Nov. 1, 2015.

In its first year, the policy cost the University $456,498.51.

The average cost for UIUC was $41 per applicant, and the costs varied depending on which state the applicant lived, Jami Painter, assistant vice president for human resources, said in her presentation to the governance, ethics and personnel committee.

Out of 11,815 background checks conducted, 11 resulted in offers withdrawn.

Trustees Jill Smart and Patrick Fitzgerald praised the new policy for preventing even one dangerous prospective employee being hired and causing problems.

Smart called it an “insurance policy for our the safety of our students and faculty.” Fitzgerald agreed.

“You will spend $500,000 in a nanosecond if something goes wrong,” he said.

Legislative update

Lindsay Anderson, executive director for governmental relations, outlined her office’s goals heading into another year without a state budget and a new presidential administration.

Her office wants to focus on more effective advocacy for the entire University of Illinois system, better informing policymakers of the system as a resource, championing the University’s work and building bridges to bring people together in spite of polarization.

These keys will guide the governmental relations office as it lobbies for a state budget, which would include funding for the University.

Sick leave

The board will vote on updating its sick leave policy for civil service staff for the second time since it was developed in 1998.

If approved, the policy would extend sick leave to allow employees to tend to their siblings, grandchildren and grandparents to comply with the Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act.

Research Park appointee

Edward Seidel, interim vice president for research, recommended Lang Liu, associate dean of facilities and capital planning for the college of engineering, to the University of Illinois Research Park board of managers.

If his appointment is approved, Liu would replace Sharon Donovan, Melissa M. Noel Endowed Chair in Nutrition and Health, on the board.

Public comment guidelines

The new guidelines would cap the public comment section to 30 minutes at Board of Trustees meetings.

People wishing to address the board could do so after presentations and before the board votes on agenda items.

The guidelines would require board members to respond to comments within a timely member, but only when appropriate.

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