Retirement bonus questionable

The Board of Regents might be going broke, but at least there’s enough money to give the university presidents some gifts.

Much of last week’s Regents meeting was filled with breast-beating and bellyaching over state budget cuts and next year’s gloomy funding outlook. However, the Regents did stop crying long enough to give NIU President John La Tourette a bonus. As part of a favorable five-year review, they bought La Tourette a year in the state’s early retirement system to the tune of about $10,000. ISU President Thomas Wallace was treated equally well.

La Tourette turns 60 this year. With mounting pressures and decreasing state funding, he probably appreciates the gesture—it brings him one year closer to leaving an increasingly desperate situation. He might even deserve it—he’s kept NIU above water in a very turbulent time for higher education.

However, NIU will be picking up the tab for this raise. It’s hard to imagine how La Tourette can accept the money when he has had to continually turn away antsy faculty who have been laboring at salaries considerably lower than most other states

Then there’s the question of whether or not the evaluation was even valid. Due to illnesses, two of the consultants hired to do the evaluations had to bow out. Only one of the consultants stayed throughout the entire process of campus visits and data compilation. With all of the half-completed work and revolving-door consultants, one has to wonder whether too many cooks did indeed spoil the broth.