Faculty Assembly addresses pay equity problem

By Chris Lind

During a time when teachers around the nation are pleading for more money, the NIU Faculty Assembly addressed their position and concerns to alleviate the problem of low salaries at NIU.

These concerns were expressed to NIU Provost Kendall Baker at yesterday’s meeting, but no real action on the salary equity problem was decided.

A chief concern of Business Professor Bob Lane, an assembly member, is the need for faculty members nearing retirement, who are poorly payed, to receive fair treatment in the equity proposal.

Lane said teachers nearing retirement will have a low retirement salary and will not be able to take advantage of the adjustment in salary they would have gotten if they did not retire. To prevent this, teachers might not retire until they get their full adjustment, he said.

Baker responded by saying that we “don’t know what exactly the mechanics (of the program) will be yet” but they will be worked out later. He stressed that we “don’t want to penalize deserving faculty” just because they decide to retire.

Baker said the salary equity program will be for all associate and full professors at NIU. However, he added, he did not want to get in a situation of promoting a program in which NIU might not be have adequate funds to accomodate.

Responses have been favorable toward the salary equity plan, said Baker. “If NIU does not pay salaries that enable us to recruit and maintain quality faculty, we will not be able to provide the quality that a university of our stature can be expected to provide.”

Illinois State University at Bloomington-Normal also has a faculty salary equity program, but the faculty members must be promoted in order to receive an adjustment, he said.

At the Jan. 26 Board of Regents meeting, the Regents approved faculty salary increments of 10 percent to NIU faculty promoted in the fall of 1988.

Yesterday, Gov. James Thompson, in his budget message to the Illinois General Assembly, proposed only a 5 percent increase in faculty salaries.

“NIU will be providing the funds to support the program in fiscal year 1990 (since the money has already been allotted through the universities budget),” Baker said. “We are moving forward with the implementation of the (salary equity) program,” but there are many issues that still need to be discussed. He said, “this was our first step to improve equity of faculty salaries.”