University Council approves 5 of 6 committee changes

By Jackie Nevarez

The University Council approved five of six proposed bylaw and constitution changes, excluding the streamlining of two committees into the Committee for the Improvement of the Undergraduate Academic Experience at its Wednesday meeting.

The proposed NIU Bylaws and Constitution revisions required 40 voting members to be present to approve the revisions. Bill Pitney, University Council executive secretary, said the first revision was postponed to Wednesday’s meeting due to an insufficient amount of voting members at the last meeting.

Faculty Personnel Advisor

A revision recommended Article 9 of the NIU Bylaws change the position title from Faculty Personnel Advisor to Faculty and Supportive Professional Staff Personnel. There was no discussion on the recommendation.

The revision was approved with 42 yeas, one nay and three abstentions.

Undergraduate Coordinating Council standing committees

The proposed revision of Article 15.5 and 15.6 of the NIU Bylaws called for the streamlining of the Improvement of Undergraduate Education and the Undergraduate Academic Environment committees into the Committee for the Improvement of the Undergraduate Academic Experience. The combination of the committees was recommended by the Academic Policies Committee because the roles of the committees were overlapping.

The revision was not approved, as it fell short by two votes with 38 yeas, six nays and one abstention. Pitney said the revision may be revisited in the fall.

“I would still like to say thank you to everyone who put in a lot of hard work …,” said biological sciences professor Virginia Naples. “One of the most important things we need to do is to ensure that we can put forward our curricular changes in a timely manner.”

Resources, Space and Budget Committee

A revision to Article 2.8 of the NIU Bylaws moved to allow the Resources, Space and Budget Committee to meet outside of the academic year calendar. The revision would increase the number of faculty serving on the committee from eight to 12 and the number of University Council members from four to six. The revision is in response to the uncertainty surrounding the state budget as Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed a $29.3 million cut to state funding to NIU for Fiscal Year 2016.

The revision was approved with 42 yeas, one nay and one abstention.

Minutes Committee

The elimination of the Minutes Committee was proposed to free faculty and staff for other responsibilities. The committee’s duties — presenting meeting minutes to the council for approval — is already accomplished outside of the committee.

The revision was approved with 43 yeas and one abstention.

Rules and Governance and Elections and Legislative Oversight committees

A revision to Articles 2.2 and 2.5 recommended a consolidation of the Rules and Governance Committee with the Elections and Legislative Oversight Committee and making it a joint committee of the Faculty Senate and University Council.

The revision was approved with 42 yeas.

Standing committees

A revision to Article 4 of the NIU Constitution recommends any changes made to standing committees should include the two-third vote approval of the University Council but not a faculty referendum or Board of Trustees approval.

The revision was approved with 43 yeas.