Regents’ loss regrettable

By Joe Bush

Reaction to last week’s Board of Regents appointments is similar: the decision to not reappoint former Regent Harry Wellbank is regrettable.

Regents Chairperson Carol Burns and Regent D. Brewster Parker were reappointed to five-year terms by Gov. James Thompson, and David Murphy of Crystal Lake was newly appointed.

In the absence of any official explanation from Thompson, rumors have surfaced of political favors or displeasure with Wellbank’s stance on separate governing boards and recent Regents policy changes.

Joint University Advisory Committee members agree that Wellbank’s statement at the September Regents meeting eased the qualms of members of the Regency campuses about the intention of proposed Regents policy changes. The Regents govern NIU, Illinois State University at Normal and Sangamon State University at Springfield.

“He was a very effective Regent,” said University Council Executive Secretary J. Carroll Moody. “In all of the recent (policy change) controversy, members of JUAC found he was always willing to listen. I didn’t feel that way on the part of all the board members.”

“He was very responsive to JUAC and was somewhat instrumental in the resolution of the policy changes,” said Leonard Schmaltz, ISU’s Faculty Senate chairman.

NIU Student Regent Bob Tisch said if Thompson’s office holds a “general dissatisfaction with the Board of Regents,” it seems illogical the dissatisfaction was shown by not reappointing Wellbank.

Tisch and Moody noted the absence of Wellbank’s name in a Regents press release announcing the appointments. “Anything said about them is applicable to Harry Wellbank,” Tisch said. “It is notable that he wasn’t mentioned.”

NIU Regency professor and JUAC member William Monat, who was appointed NIU president by a board committee that Wellbank headed, described Wellbank as “conscientious ” and a “very thoughtful (Regent) member.”