Faculty Senate discusses state retirement legislation, hears from SA about grading

By Erin Kolb

A Student Association (SA) representative urged NIU to stop actions toward a plus/minus grading system at a Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday.

SA Senate Clerk Chad Harris came to Faculty Senate to bring up a resolution the SA passed at their Sunday meeting regarding the plus/minus grading system. The resolution was meant to persuade the university to not make further steps with implementation of the grading system.

“That was just something we passed on Sunday and that was just the student input on the plus/minus system being implemented,” Harris said.

Harris spoke in place of SA Senate Speaker Austin Quick, who was not in attendance at the meeting.

During his announcements, Faculty Senate President Alan Rosenbaum made the Senate aware of proposed constitutional amendment HJRCA0049. Rosenbaum said this amendment can be voted on during the election this year.

“Essentially what it does is it requires a three-fifths vote in legislature to increase or improve the retirement benefits,” Rosenbaum said. “This is seen by some of the people who are looking out for our interests as not a good thing.”

Rosenbaum said the amendment was not favorable because it would make it harder for people to get healthcare benefits. The amendment was also not favorable to NIU’s current two-tier system of retirement, he said. Rosenbaum advised the Faculty Senate to research the proposed amendment themselves and make it known to anyone they can influence.

Sonya Armstrong, a representative from the Faculty Advisory Council to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, reported to Faculty the Senate on the Oct. 19 FAC-IBHE meeting. She said there was consensus among the FAC-IBHE that the proposed amendment HJRCA0049 was poorly written, vague and would likely have negative consequences.

Jim Wilson, member of the committee on resources, space and budget, gave his report to the Faculty Senate. Wilson reported the Oct. 18 meeting with NIU President John Peters and Provost Raymond Alden. He said Peters still places the most importance on safety and security of students.

Wilson said the state owes NIU $51 million. While an improvement from last year, the budget is $20 million short due to lower enrollments this year.