Edgar or Thompson: who chooses alumni?

By Vickie Snow

Efforts to fill the requirements of a bill adding alumni to the Board of Regents are in the works, but officials disagree on who will choose the members.

The governor appoints all voting board members. With Governor-elect Jim Edgar taking office Jan. 20, it’s unclear if he or Gov. James Thompson will make the appointments.

House Bill 2842, signed by Thompson Sept. 11, adds three alumni—one from each university governed—to the board.

The board governs NIU, Illinois State University in Normal and Sangamon State University in Springfield.

NIU and ISU alumni will be added sometime next year. SSU might wait until 1993 for the seat since it has fewer alumni than NIU and ISU, and the Regents’ total membership must remain odd for voting purposes.

Board and government officials have different ideas about which governor, Thompson or Edgar, will be making the appointments.

Phil Adams, the board’s associate vice chancellor for external relations, said, “There’s not much incentive for Gov. Thompson to do it.”

However, Jim Osborg, Thompson’s education assistant, said, “My guess is (Gov. Thompson) will want to make the appointments before he leaves.”

As of yet, Osborg said he hasn’t reviewed the list of names with Thompson.

“Gov. Thompson won’t appoint the two alumni positions in January. However, there is no time specified in the bill for when those two appointments have to be made,” Adams said.

“It will likely be a few months” after January and sometime before June until the alumni are chosen, he said.

The bill goes into effect Jan. 1, and the governor cannot appoint the members before then, Adams said. That leaves 18 days for Thompson to make the decision before Edgar takes office.

“After Edgar is sworn in, he’ll begin to look at appointments for hundreds and hundreds of boards,” Adams said. “There’s no real urgency to this one.”

“Appointments of this type are going to be awfully far down on (Edgar’s) appointment list,” Adams said.

NIU officials are puzzled about the time schedule for making the appointments.

“We know very little about how the decision will be made,” said Susan Lund, director of NIU Alumni Relations.

The group gave NIU President John La Tourette a list of six potential nominees.

After being looked over by Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves, the names were sent to Thompson.