Pension proposal put in faculty’s hands

By James Green

The Faculty Senate hopes to give NIU personnel a voice in pension reform.

At a Wednesday Faculty Senate meeting, Senate President Alan Rosenbaum motioned for the Faculty Senate to endorse a pension resolution in response to pension issues in the state of Illinois. Illinois is ranked 50th out of all 50 states for pension funding. Other public universities in Illinois are considering endorsing the statement.

When brought to a vote, the representatives chose to postpone endorsement so the resolution may be revised to better represent the voice of NIU personnel. Representatives will distribute the resolution throughout their departments, and faculty will provide feedback to the Committee on the Economic Status of the Profession. The Economic Status of the Profession is one of several standing committees on the Faculty Senate, and it will handle amendments to the resolution.

The decline in total enrollment was also discussed. Eric Weldy, Student Affairs and Enrollment Management vice president, is scheduled to address the Faculty Senate about this issue and the statistics involved at the next Faculty Senate meeting. However, Rosenbaum noted that this is “not strictly an NIU problem.”

“The president considers this one of our No. 1 priorities,” Rosenbaum said.

Another point of concern was the 2014 budget, which is nearly $58,000 lower than last year. The reduced budget is a result of new performance-based fund allocation by the state.

Rebecca Clark, director of Governmental and Academic Affairs for the Student Association, announced that the SA plans on engaging more students in Homecoming events this year, and will help its newly elected senators reach out to students. The SA also hopes to bring off-campus students closer to the university community.

“We’re meeting with DeKalb and NIU officials to brainstorm on how to economize the areas of John Street and College Park, specifically,” Clark said.

Drew VandeCreek, director of Digital Services, also introduced Open Access Week, a four-day series of events in late October concerning the recent Open Access to Research Articles Act. Later in the meeting, the Faculty Senate voted to pass a resolution stating its commitment to “facilitate open access scholarly communication.”