La Tourette speaks at Faculty Senate meeting

By Paul Kirk

NIU President John La Tourette urged faculty members not to rock the boat when he spoke Wednesday at the Faculty Senate meeting.

La Tourette said the university must brace for a possible recision. Money and priorities must be reallocated, he said.

“There has to be a process that will put the primary focus on the establishment of objectives and priorities at the campus level,” La Tourette said. “That is the only way I think a process like this can work.”

J. Carroll Moody, Faculty Senate president, said he believes La Tourette was saying the faculty should not get into a panic situation where they are pointing their fingers at others.

La Tourette alluded several times to universities such as in Ohio and Wisconsin, who have the autonomy to reallocate their budget and develop their own priorities.

Illinois schools are run by the state, causing different economic structures. Any plan designed at the state level will meet with significant institutional resistance. An institution has a more complete knowledge of its own situation, La Tourette said, referring to a research article.

“No one has any sense of how this game is going to be played,” he said, referring to budget problems in the state.

Also, La Tourette said that despite projections by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, NIU is restructuring and reallocating efforts in terms of the universities programatic structure.

“What I would like to have you do (Faculty Senate) is don’t get cannibalistic. We don’t know how serious the game is yet. It’s time to really press the state people over what they really mean,” he said.

La Tourette said he didn’t mean NIU wouldn’t have to respond or wouldn’t be under more pressure to improve.

“A lot of things are happening now. There is a general feeling that there is not going to be additional money for higher education,” he said.

La Tourette said the university might have to get used to responding to more and more problems and pressures with the same amount of resources.

La Tourette might have been alluding to the editorials in the Northern Star stressing the need to set priorities, Moody said.

“We’ve been reallocating for years with inadequate state budgets. We shouldn’t start trying to cannibalize programs, because were not sure what the IBHE has in mind when they talk about increasing productivity,” Moody said.