Board of Trustees to vote on pension compensation, tuition increases

By MaryCate Most

After a series of Board of Trustees committee meetings last week, the full board will convene Thursday on the Chicago campus to discuss and vote on a number of issues, including pension compensation plans, tuition and fees increases and electing the board’s officers for the coming year.

In the board’s Audit, Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee meeting, a competitive compensation plan meant to supplement faculty pensions was discussed, University spokesman Tom Hardy said.

“The recommendation is that the board provide a directive and some guidance,” Hardy said. “We need to be ready to act if it is decided that action is necessary to somehow supplement pensions so that we may remain competitive with other universities.”

The board will not decide on specifics of the compensation plan at this meeting but will instead ask University administration to assess the situation and recommend plans to the board at a later meeting.

“It will be up to the president and his team to come up with some recommendations for how a retirement supplement would be structured and funded,” Hardy said.

The board is also due to elect two members to the board’s Executive Committee, the board chair, the secretary, comptroller and University counsel. The Executive Committee currently consists of three members: Chairman Christopher Kennedy, Edward McMillan and Pam Strobel. These members are elected on an annual basis at the January board meeting and are appointed to a one-year term, according to the meeting’s agenda. 

In a recent Executive Committee meeting, members of the committee approved the University’s recommendation to award a State Farm Center renovation contract to Grunloh Construction. This action will be reported to the entire board at its meeting.

The board is also expected to pass several resolutions suggested by the University that would increase the cost of tuition by 1.7 percent for incoming freshmen, the cost of fees by 2.3 percent and the cost of housing by 2 percent. These increases mirror last year’s tuition increases.

“We are going to try as best as we can to stay with the rate of inflation and hope that the state funds us at the rate it did previously,” Hardy said. “We can continue to be more efficient and effective and hopefully rely on friends of the University and philanthropy.”

University President Robert Easter also stressed the importance of minimizing tuition hikes in a statement earlier this month.

“Affordability is a cornerstone of our land-grant mission, providing the opportunity that helps every deserving student unlock their potential and foster the talents that are critical to the future of our state and nation,” Easter said.

The board will also meet in Chicago on Wedneday for a retreat. 

MaryCate can be reached at [email protected]