Chancellor responds to expansion feuds

By Mark McGowan and Vickie Snow

Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves responded Thursday to the recent spats among universities as they battle for the suburbs.

NIU’s plans for facilities in Hoffman Estates and Rockford are the most recent proposals to spark competition and controversy. Other universities—such as Roosevelt and Governors State—feel threatened by NIU’s presence.

Groves said competition between universities is good, and said he commends and recommends NIU’s initiative.

“Certainly no one wants duplication. Certainly no one wants wastage of a lot of public money,” Groves said, adding he feels the push into the suburbs won’t create these problems.

However, Groves is disappointed by the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s close 9-6 vote Tuesday to approve the center.

“I wish they would have looked upon it more favorably,” Groves said. “I’m sure the opposition will not continue.”

While the Chancellor admits most people find the squabbling over turf “ridiculous,” he also feels the battles are a “waste of time.”

But NIU made no objections to other schools—like the Illinois Institute of Technology, Roosevelt and DePaul—building off-campus centers, said NIU President John La Tourette at the IBHE meeting.

Also, NIU must get IBHE approval for new centers—like Rockford, which should have a location soon—and is inviting other schools to use the Hoffman Estates center.