Regents praise NIU president

By Ken Goze

The results of an evaluation on NIU President John La Tourette were given and relief for NIU faculty and staff was approved at Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting.

Although no specifics have been released, La Tourette, Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves and the presidents of Illinois State University and Sangamon State University were highly rated on their mandatory five-year evaluations.

“We are pleased to announce that all of the CEOs did very well on the evaluations,” Regents Chairman Brewster Parker said. “Dr. La Tourette, in his sixth year as president of NIU, has proved to be a skillful and dedicated administrator.”

Parker said La Tourette is recognized statewide as one of the state’s “most energetic and articulate and persuasive spokesmen.”

“Roderick Groves, in his fifth year as Chancellor has provided balanced, thoughtful and effective leadership for the system,” Parker said. Parker had similar praise for ISU President Thomas Wallace and SSU President Naomi Lynn.

In recognition, the Regents decided to buy La Tourette, Groves, and Wallace an extra year of retirement service. Lynn was excluded because she is still in her first year of service

Parker said there was no money for a raise so the one-time benefit was similar to recognition given for promotion. Groves said he was not sure of the exact figure, but said he expects the benefit will be worth less than $10,000 per person.

Faculty unrest over pay issues also came home to roost when about 10 sign-carrying members of the SSU faculty union marched into the meeting at ISU.

The announcement of the extra year seemed to further aggravate the protesters, who furiously penned extra signs and at one point marched down onto the main floor and around the Regents meeting table.

The board also approved a measure giving NIU faculty and staff a flat $150 to offset hikes in health insurance premiums. Employees, in a year with no salary increases, stood to lose money under the higher rates.

In other business, the board approved NIU’s request to offer a minor in Italian, gave the go-ahead for ISU to look into refinancing its bonds, and approved the hiring of Ann Geraci to the position of coordinator of analytical studies in the Chancellors Office.

The responsibilities of the position include working with Illinois Board of Higher Education and university staff to compile statistics for the Regents. Geraci will be paid $3,125 per month.