Wingfield to remain at NIU

By Claudia Curry

NIU Professor Clyde Wingfield, who will be taking a paid leave of absence from NIU for the next academic year, said he has no intentions to leave NIU after his fellowship with the American Associaton of State Colleges and Universities ends.

Wingfield said, “I will be spending the next academic year in Washington D.C. working with AASCU in a senior fellow position. At this point, I have no intentions on leaving this university after next year. I did not apply for the position (at the AASCU). It was offered to me through the Regency.”

NIU President John LaTourette said the issue of Wingfield’s leave was initiated about a year ago by Wingfield.

In a closed session at the July 21 Board of Regents meeting, the Regents approved a decision to allow Wingfield to be absent from NIU for the 1988-89 academic year while still receiving his salary from the university.

Wingfield said, “I will be receiving my regular salary, the same as last year. I will not be receiving any salary from the AASCU. There are benefits however, that will affect the Regency system with my position,” he said.

Wingfield earns more than $70,000 annually as a political science professor in the department’s division of public administration. NIU Provost Kendall Baker said he was not consulted on the issue and, to his knowledge, neither was LaTourette.

LaTourette said he was aware of Wingfield’s leave but felt it was a board matter. He also said he felt the practice of the closed session was acceptable. “There was no attempt to hide anything. I think it was done legally,” LaTourette said.

Wingfield said, “The arrangement was made between the chancellor (Regent Roderick Groves) and the AASCU. At the time of the executive session in which they (the regents) approved the decision of my appointment, I was out of the country.”

Groves said, “I think that the issue of Clyde Wingfield has been fully and adequately covered and it doesn’t warrant any further comment by me.”

Rep. John Countryman, R-DeKalb, said he has received many angry phone calls and letters from NIU constituents concerning Wingfield’s leave and is considering investigating the arrangement.

“I asked the board (of Regents) to furnish me with some material to review and I received the reports (last Friday). They are very voluminous and it will take me a while to get through it all,” Countryman said. “If the situation warrants investigation I will bring it up in legislative session either in November or January.

“They (the Regents) said they did everything according to the law. All I want to find out is if this decision is something that is advisable and in accordance with our policies,” Countryman said.

Clyde Wingfield served as NIU president from 1985-86. He was asked to resign from his position by the Regents in June of 1986 after The Northern Star revealed he authorized about $100,000 in university funds for the remodeling of his home.

After his resignation, Wingfield retained position of full professor at NIU.