Senate: Faculty fear changes in pensions


Biology professor Virginia Naples speaks during the Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday. She said students should be educated about the negative effects of feeding geese. Naples’ comments were prompted by a discussion on the use of the Goosinator to get rid of geese on campus.

By Keith Hernandez

Faculty Senate President Alan Rosenbaum advised NIU employees to receive pension advising because of the state’s changes to the program

Rosenbaum spoke at the Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday in the Holmes Student Center’s Skyroom.


Rosenbaum warned pension changes, which are to be implemented June 1, would affect those who are close to retiring.

“If you are anywhere close to retirement, you owe it to yourself to talk to the folks at SURS and find out what the changes are in June,” Rosenbaum said.

Those who have chosen the money purchase option to calculate their retirement plans may need to consider choosing another option or retire before June, Rosenbaum said. The money purchase option is a formula for retirement income that most university employees chose before it became unavailable to future plans in 2005. Changes within the option can cost faculty up to $1,000 per month.

“The university is anticipating a retirement rate of 20 percent,” Rosenbaum said.

Faculty members expressed concern over retiring due to pension reform that may be repealed by a lawsuit against the state by retirement associations and schools. Law professor Elvia Arriola said there needs to be more information in regard to the litigation process so faculty members close to retiring can make a more informed decision.

“My concern is coming from the standpoint of uncertainty itself,” Arriola said. “Not having the information, especially when it’s having an effect on people making very important life decisions, is itself a harm.”


Rosenbaum received mixed responses when he asked the floor if it supported NIU’s Goosinator as a humane solution to move geese to another site.

Melissa Lenczewski, Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability & Energy director, expressed interest in other, more long-term solutions.

“The Goosinator is great and works wonderfully right now, but in the future there are other things that we could be doing, such as landscaping,” Lenczewski said. “There are other options, and we’re willing to help in order to explore those other options.”

Among other proposals, including a lighthearted solution to add goose to the menu at Ellington’s, was to educate the campus on goose behavior. Biology professor Virginia Naples said geese grow used to people feeding them and may become aggressive if someone walks by without offering a bite to eat.

“Students and other people ought to be made aware of what to expect from goose behavior,” Naples said.

Other business

Elections for the Faculty and SPS personnel adviser position and the executive secretary of University Council/Faculty Senate were announced for April 23.

The personnel adviser assists faculty who have issues with other faculty or departments and the executive secretary serves as president of the Faculty Senate.

Rosenbaum will run unopposed for the personnel adviser. William Pitney, professor in athletic training, will run unopposed for executive secretary.