Board delays policy action

Proposal to be analyzed

The Board of Regents will delay action on Chancellor Roderick Groves’ proposed policy changes until, at the earliest, its October meeting, the Regents office announced Monday.

According to a statement from the Board and Groves, the proposal will be a discussion item only at next week’s Regents’ meeting at Illinois State University. The Regents govern NIU, Illinois State University in Normal and Sangamon State University in Springfield.

“Normally, we take action at the second consecutive meeting,” said Regents Chairwoman Carol Burns, “but it is not unusual to delay a month when a genuine need exists.”

The proposed changes were introduced to the Regents in July for a first reading. Board policies require any such changes be acted on only after at least two readings. The Board did not meet in August.

Groves met with NIU’s Faculty Assembly and ISU’s Academic Senate on Aug. 30 to answer questions about the proposal, which both campuses have labeled an attempt to limit the powers of the university presidents in retribution for NIU and ISU’s attempts to establish their own governing boards.

Burns said the action will be delayed because “our Joint University Advisory Committee has strongly pressed for a postponement to allow for a full discussion and consideration of alternative wording.

“While much discussion has already taken place on the (Regency) campuses, we do not wish to act without providing a full opportunity for input. Therefore, we have decided that the matter warrants a one month delay.”

Groves said, “I hope a one month delay will give us an opportunity to clear up the misunderstandings and misapprehensions. It will also give us a chance to consider some wording changes which may be reassuring to people.”

“I am very pleased they have done so (postponed the changes),” said University Council Executive Secretary J. Carroll Moody. “It seems to me that the Regents are responding to the certainly strong position and wishes of the colleges in the Regents system,” he said.

Student Association President Huda Scheidelman said she also sees the postponement as a “positive move” by a Board of Regents that has been sending “a poor public image” to students. The delay “indicates that they are going to give more consideration to our (those who oppose the changes) position,” she said.

The release states, “Other board members expressed concern over the amount of misinformation that has appeared in the media and elsewhere. Campus newspapers have characterized the proposals as a ‘power grab.'”

“The board and Groves have emphasized from the start that the changes represent a modest adjustment in the board governing policies language that has been in existence for five years,” the release states.

Some Regents said from many of the comments they have received, it appeared “the amendments have been reviewed without attention to the full body of board policies and the historical context of systems operations,” the release states.