Affirmative action program to begin

By Stephanie Bradley

The amount of $100,000 has been appropriated for NIU’s Academic Affairs Division to subsidize an affirmative action program which affects all academic departments.

NIU Provost Kendall Baker said the program will “facilitate hiring minority faculty.” Departments will be able to draw out of the $100,000 if they hire minorities, which are classified as blacks, Hispanics and native Americans.

Baker said the funds for the program were requested last year. He said faculty are recruited a year in advance, so NIU does not have to provide the program funds until fiscal year 1990. Between now and FY90, funding will have to be found, he said.

NIU President John LaTourette “is strongly committed to this effort. We will have to cut corners in other programs … Academic Affairs does not have to come up with the funds,” he said.

Baker said although the program is academic right now, eventually it will spread to the operating staff. “There would be a permanent increase in the operating staff,” he said.

NIU Affirmative Action Director Marilyn Monteiro said there has not been a search for minorities to fill tenure track faculty positions yet because the program has been approved just recently. She said departments will conduct nationwide searches for candidates through journals and academic conferences.

Monteiro said there will be no legal problems in hiring minorities over non-minorities if their qualifications are the same, especially if there is a lack of minorities in the department in question.

Monteiro said she believes the program will be a success because other schools which have similar programs were researched and found to have been successful. She said the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of California systems, among others, have a successful affirmative action program similar to NIU’s.

NIU English Department Chairman Glenn Meeter said he is in the process of getting approval to advertise for a tenure-track position, and he will make sure minorities see the advertisement.

Meeter said the program is designed to “award departments who are taking affirmative action in hiring.” He said whomever he hires will fit the qualifications for the position.

Baker said the marketplace for hiring minorities is very competitive. Meeter said NIU’s program could pull minorities to NIU and influence them to teach here.

In the future, the funds will also be used for non-personnel purposes such as graduate assistantships.