Representation not ‘OK’

The Illinois Senate overlooked Gov. James Thompson’s obvious lame duck mentality last week when they OK’d his new appointment to the Board of Regents.

Dave Murphy, board chairman of McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, will replace Harry Wellbank on the nine-member board. Although Murphy is probably well versed in the needs of community colleges, one must question his place on a board that governs three universities.

NIU, Illinois State University and Sangamon State University are three diverse schools in need of better representation on their often-maligned governing board. Murphy’s contributions as a Regent, however valuable, might fail to address the more pressing issues the board faces.

Wellbank’s abrupt, almost rude, dismissal has raised eyebrows on the Regency campuses among those who recall his polite cooperation with the universities when the schools firmly opposed recent policy changes and the larger issue of a separate governing board.

Thompson squandered his opportunity for a meaningful contribution to NIU’s governing board by failing to address the Regents’ insufficient representation. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until 1991 for another chance to instill fresh blood into the board—in the form of three new Regents—when three more members’ terms expire.