La Tourette to explain recently-dismissed lawsuit

By Jami Peterson

NIU President John La Tourette will be starting off Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting with a long-awaited explanation of NIU’s Business and Industry Services.

At the last FS meeting, members requested an explanation of the recently-dismissed lawsuit against NIU and six members of the Business and Industry Services. The Management Association of Illinois claimed the six staff members, who formerly worked at MAI, secretly negotiated with NIU.

Some faculty members believed they were not informed about the hiring of the six employees and the function of the Business and Industry Services.

When University Council members inquired about the project last week, La Tourette said he would detail the project’s origin and answer any questions at the FS meeting.

Faculty Senate President J. Carroll Moody said the issue ranks first. “That (the Business and Industry Services) seems to be an important subject for the Senate to take up,” he said.

Moody said anyone who wants to ask a question or make a brief comment at the open meeting should let him know before the meeting.

The FS also will discuss putting “caps” on instructors’ salaries for summer session teaching in order to help offset budget holes.

During the summer, a teacher is paid a one-month salary for teaching one course and a two-month salary for teaching two courses, Moody said. However, with this new policy, every teacher can earn only a maximum amount of money, no matter what their NIU monthly salary is, he said.

“It puts a cap on the amount of money a person can earn during the summer,” Moody said.

For example, if a teacher earns $5,000 a month and teaches one summer course, they will earn $5,000 if the set maximum amount is above their monthly salary. Otherwise, they will receive the maximum amount of payment, such as $3,500, he said.

He said some departments and at least one college already have implemented the new policy.

FS members also will discuss whether midyear salary raises should be given to faculty members who received increments at the beginning of the year.

Faculty members will be receiving salary increases by July 1 as part of La Tourette’s plan of attack against budget woes.

However, some faculty members who received offers from other universities were given raises at the beginning of the year as counter-offers to remain at NIU. Other faculty members were promoted with bigger salaries, Moody said.

Therefore, some FS members question whether faculty who received raises at the beginning of the year should be eligible for midyear salary increases, he said.

“Other faculty members argue that (raises given at the beginning of the year) shouldn’t affect future salary increases,” Moody said.