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University officials discuss Unofficial attire, planning budget

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University officials discuss Unofficial attire, planning budget

Group of people crossing the street and showing Unofficial pride during Unofficial 2016.

Group of people crossing the street and showing Unofficial pride during Unofficial 2016.

The Daily Illini File Photo

Group of people crossing the street and showing Unofficial pride during Unofficial 2016.

The Daily Illini File Photo

The Daily Illini File Photo

Group of people crossing the street and showing Unofficial pride during Unofficial 2016.

By Jessica Bursztynsky, Staff Writer

During the season in which University students proudly portray Chief Illiniwek on their Unofficial shirts, Chancellor Robert Jones said on Monday that he is trying to create an inclusive, welcoming environment for students.

The Senate Executive Committee met to discuss a proposed statement to the Senate regarding research, diversity and freedom, the transition to a new school mascot and a proposed campus budget model.

“We’re trying to be thoughtful and strategic in creating an environment where people feel supported and protected and valued as part of this community,” Jones said, during a discussion on the Chief and Unofficial attire.

Nicholas Burboles, general university policy chair, said there was a push for campus officials to discuss the issues of racial insensitivity and the changing of a mascot, but he believes that it is up to the students to enact real changes.

“In general, the administration telling students not to wear t-shirts, or faculty telling students not to wear t-shirts, or administration telling faculty to tell students not to wear t-shirts, isn’t what’s going to change their attitudes,” Burboles said.

Burboles said that the University must still decide on how to pursue choosing a new mascot as well as factor in events such as the timing of the decision.

“We don’t want to lose momentum on this issue, but right now with budget issues, with the sesquicentennial, with a financial campaign coming up may not be the best time to raise an issue that will be divisive and adversarial with people,” Burboles said. “There may be other ways of making progress on the goal that we share, of moving past the Chief.”

Kathryn Oberdeck, equal opportunity and inclusion chair, raised the issue of the University of Illinois Statement on Research, Diversity and Freedom.

Oberdeck was approached by faculty with a draft of her proposed statement, which she said garnered nearly 200 signatures and hoped to get the Senate’s approval.

After drawing criticism on the draft’s language, it was decided that Oberdeck would work on a new statement with board members Mark Steinberg and Burboles.

Michael LeRoy, member of the Budget Committee, introduced a proposed budget model for the University to transition toward. The University is currently following an incremental budget plan, which examines and allocates funds on a yearly basis. LeRoy, hoping to transition to a Responsibility Centered Management plan, said that the University’s current system is not a good way for budget planning.

“RCM is a different budgeting model that is prevalent on many college campuses,” LeRoy said. “We’ve been looking at RCM models in the Big Ten.”

LeRoy said that his team is focusing on the budget models of the University of Minnesota, University of Michigan and Indiana University.

The RCM model will reduce the power from the Provost and allow smaller academic units to plan their budgets.

“It’s a way of saying that the kinds of issues that we’re confronting are issues that many campuses have confronted,” LeRoy said.

While more power is given to the colleges, LeRoy said there are arguments to be made for both sides and SEC members William Maher, Lisa Monda-Amaya and George Francis voiced concerns.

“Given the stalemate in Springfield and given the bleak prospect for state support for our University, my personal opinion is that the RCM model is the best model going forward for engaging all stakeholders in thinking more clearly and specifically about how to adapt to a changing environment,” LeRoy said.

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