Groves replies to faculty

By Stephanie Bradley

A “totally mystified” Board of Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves responded to a letter by the NIU Faculty Assembly stating its displeasure with Groves’ comments at its Sept. 28 meeting with a letter of his own.

Groves, in his reply, said he did not understand why the assembly wrote such a letter to him. It states, “That the Faculty Assembly was not happy with my presentation is clear enough—why is another matter.”

At the meeting, faculty members had questioned the Regents’ decision to give former NIU President Clyde Wingfield an $85,000 “administrative assignment.”

The letter went on to state that contrary to what the assembly believed, Groves did indeed answer the questions the faculty asked him at the Sept. 28 meeting. He said the assembly had “ample opportunity to follow up questions with requests for further clarification” which the faculty did not take advantage of.

Groves also wrote he was disappointed that the response to his efforts for “proactive leadership … seems to be more nitpicking criticism.” He said that despite the reaction, he wants to return to NIU “at a mutually convenient time to pick up where we left off.”

Judy Bischoff, University Council executive secretary, said the letter followed a Joint University Action Committee luncheon Groves attended on Oct. 19 at which some of the communication problems between the Board of Regents and NIU faculty were cleared up.

Regency Professor William Monat said he was “a little surprised” at the letter because the luncheon was “very cordial and fruitful.” He said he hoped the luncheon “is an indicator of (the Regents’) commitment to communication.”

Because the luncheon was only one-and-one-half hours long, issues which were brought up at the Faculty Assembly meeting were not dealt with, Bischoff said. Instead, the ongoing problem of lack of communication between the Regents and the Regency schools was discussed, she said.

Bischoff said one of the more “positive” results of the current problems was the increased effort by the Regents to reveal more information discussed in executive session. She said there was a great commitment made on the part of Groves and Regents Chairman Carol Burns to change the perception many have that the Regents “don’t know what’s going on (at the Regency schools) and don’t care.”

Monat said, “The luncheon is evidence of the willingness of the chairman and the chancellor to listen and be above-board, not that he isn’t already … I’ve known Rod Groves for 20 years, and he has always been a person who is open and receptive.”