Provost’s office responds to flier

By Caryn Rosenberg

The NIU provost’s office is fighting back against the University Professionals of Illinois.

Natalie Clark, assistant provost for personnel, sent out a memo this week to NIU faculty and support staff in response to a recent flier distributed by the University Professionals of Illinois (UPI).

UPI President Mitch Vogel had said he was contacted by NIU faculty members to help organize an open house meeting, giving faculty an open forum to voice their concerns about their jobs and the university. The meeting will be held today from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Wesley Interfaith Center, 633 W. Locust St.

However, Clark said the flier was not entirely factual.

“There seems to be a lot of inaccuracies in there and I thought we should respond to them,” Clark said.

The UPI flier addresses issues such as salary and emphasizes the benefits of collective bargaining.

However, Clark’s memo disputes the “collective bargaining is better” reasoning, as well as other issues raised in the UPI memo.

For example, UPI is pushing for a union to create collective bargaining, thus giving the faculty more power over decisions which affect them, including pay raises.

However, Clark’s memo indicates that unionization is not necessarily the answer to faculty’s problems, pointing out that “there are at least eight instances in which state employees represented by unions received no raises last fiscal year.”

In addition, the UPI memo states that “many chairs will receive an additional 2 percent raise … as they continue to receive 12 months’ pay.”

Clark disputes this claim as well. “There was no salary increase program at Northern through which department chairs received an additional 2 percent raise,” she said.

Clark’s memo also states that the “slush funds” mentioned in the UPI memo are unheard of “for administrators or any other purpose anywhere in the university.”