Faculty Senate debates budget cuts, Chicago State senate

Debby Hernandez, Administration Editor

Faculty Senate members debated their opinions on the university budget cuts and the dissolving Chicago State University Faculty Senate Tuesday.

The senate chair, Grant Sterling said he received an email from a faculty member who was concerned about the final budget cuts recommendations from the council from the university planning, and what the lack of response to it from campus members could implicate.

“His concern was that he thought the process was deeply flawed and afraid that if no other campus body has said anything about it, then that would imply that the faculty accepted these recommendations,” Sterling said.

He said the faculty member encouraged the senate to comment on the recommendations Council on University Planning and Budgeting made and President Bill Perry’s choices among those recommendations.

Members quickly provided their input on their thoughts and concerns on budget cuts.

“I want to know specifically what is actually happening,” Senate Member Amy Rosenstein said. “It would be nice to see the numbers, and how it is actually affecting departments.”

In reference to some of the current expenses Eastern is currently facing, Senate Member Jeffrey Ashley commented on the current contract with Adidas and the needed additional cost of $125,000,000.

“Is being an Adidas university a good thing or a bad thing for us, does it safe us money, does it cost us money?” he asked.

Blair Lord, the provost and vice president for academic affairs, said it all began as an athletic contract to buy material for athletics, but additions were made because other units of the university joined in the contract.

Ashley said the CUPB made vague recommendations for specific cuts, while senate member Steven Scher wondered if the vagueness is because of a holding pattern.

“Is this a holding pattern for allowing the next president to place their own stand on how things will precede?” Scher asked.

Senate Member Jim Conwell said while budget cuts are a focus, there are no specifics on the reallocation of vacancies, and how it is being handled.

“We’ve been talking about the cuts, but there is the other part that is not transparent at all, which is the reallocation of resources,” Conwell said. “That is really were we are lacking data.”

Sterling suggested if the senate will like to review budget cuts, then they could ask their budget transparency committee to investigate.

While senate members did not decide on having the committee investigate the issue, members agreed more information was needed.

The senate also debated whether a letter of support should be written for Chicago State University whose faculty senate has been de-recognized by their board of trustees.

Steve said a resolution could be to work with Chicago State University on the issue.

“I would like us to contact the faculty senate at Chicago State and work with them to see what would best support them in their struggle,” he said.

Conwell suggested writing a letter to suggest dissolving the Chicago State board in the interest of shared governance of the faculty senates.

Conwell also said the Chicago State board had not informed their faculty senate of the de-recognition of the senate.

The board had also had a disagreement with the Faculty Senate at Chicago State about administrators, in particularly, the plagiarism of the written thesis by Angela Henderson, the Chicago State provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Michael Mulvaney questioned the place of Eastern to take action in the situation with Chicago State University.

“I am hesitant without more information, to jump in and fully support the faculty senate at this point,” Mulvaney said. “We are getting one side of the story”

The senate decided to postpone acting on the situation in order to gather more information on the case.

The senate also reviewed the actions of the State University Civil Service System when reclassifying administrative and academic positions in universities and when performing university audits.

According to a statement of concern from the council of Illinois university senates, the civil service system has been reclassifying positions without adequate consultation and information on the positions.

In addition, civil service system members have failed university audits without giving any reasoning for their decision.

Conwell said the last audit had a 90 percent fail rate, but the members told human resources that implementing the changes they wanted would pass them.

“Essentially it is a form of extortion,” Conwell said.

He said one human resource member informed him when they asked the executive director why there was a 90 percent fail rate, they were given no reasons for it.

“What truly bothers me is that the executive director wants to isolate his board and no longer feels the need to give reasons for any particular decision give,” Conwell said.

The next senate meeting will take place at 2 p.m. Oct. 7 in Room 4440 in Booth Library.


Debby Hernandez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]