Board of Trustees set to review tuition hike in late January

By MaryCate Most

With students on their final week of winter break, University faculty and administration kicked off the new year with an Urbana-Champaign Senate Executive Committee meeting, as well as two Board of Trustees committee meetings.

Board of Trustees

Members of the board’s Audit, Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee, at their meeting Jan. 13, discussed the University’s plan to increase tuition by 1.7 percent, student fees by 2.3 percent and housing fees by 2 percent. This proposal is set to appear before the board at its Jan. 23 meeting in Chicago.

This proposal matches last year’s tuition increase of 1.7 percent, the University’s smallest tuition increase since 1994.

“The percentage is the same as it was a year ago — it is a continuation of what has become a downward trend,” University spokesman Tom Hardy said. “This is attributable to a number of factors, including a Board of Trustees policy from 2011 that says tuition increases should be inflation neutral.”

A $202 increase will put base tuition rates at $12,036 per year for incoming in-state students at the Urbana-Champaign campus, according to a press release. The 2.3 percent increase in fees and 2 percent increase in housing would mean a total increase of $269 per year.

The board’s Governance, Personnel and Ethics Committee met Jan. 9 to review potential board items.

Among these items were the appointment of associates and fellows to the Center for Advanced Study and a review of a possible extension of athletic director Mike Thomas’ contract.

These items were reviewed by the committee and are also set to be approved at the upcoming board meeting, Hardy said.

Urbana-Champaign Senate Executive Committee

The Urbana-Champaign Senate Executive Committee met Jan. 13 to propose the restructuring of non-tenured faculty contracts, to oppose a boycott of Israeli institutions and to discuss making changes to the Urbana-Champaign Senate’s voting system.

The General University Policy Committee proposed that non-tenured faculty, which may include lecturers and instructors who are not officially professors, be signed to more long-term contracts, SEC chair Roy Campbell said.

“What that does is mimic the requirements that offer tenured faculty,” Campbell said. “This will give non-tenured faculty more structure, but they do not have a guaranteed work contract.”

Under the proposed plan, non-tenured faculty will operate similarly to their tenured counterparts, using the same ranking system that tenured faculty use. The General University Policy Committee will present the resolution to the full senate at its Feb. 10 meeting.

At the meeting, members showed support for Chancellor Phyllis Wise’s opposition to the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli higher-education institutions, Campbell said.

“At Illinois, we value academic freedom as one of our core principles and cherish the critical importance of the ability of faculty to pursue learning, discovery and engagement without regard to political considerations,” Wise said in a statement Dec. 27.

SEC members emphasized that a boycott of Israeli institutions would damage academic freedom.

“The University wants to maintain academic freedom, so we are saying that we don’t want to boycott anything else — we want academics to work with academics,” Campbell said.

The SEC also agreed that an electronic election system should be established for the Urbana-Champaign Senate as soon as possible. Campbell said he will be working on making this a possibility in the next few weeks.

During the meeting, an Ad-Hoc Compensation Review Committee, which the senate hopes to make a permanent committee in the near future, also discussed working with the Committee on Academic and Staff Benefits to ensure equity in compensation and benefits for all staff, senate coordinator Jenny Roether said.

MaryCate can be reached at [email protected]