Illinois Public Media News

AP - Illinois Public Media News - May 20, 2010

UI Trustees Approve 9.5% Tuition Hike, New President’s Salary

The University of Illinois' Board of Trustees has approved a $620,000 salary for the school's new president, and a 9.5% increase in tuition. The board approved the measures on a voice vote Thursday afternoon. Earlier, protesters marched outside the board's meeting, demanding that new President Michael Hogan be paid only $450,000 annually. Hogan's salary is $170,000 more than that received by his predecessor, B. Joseph White.

On the tuition increase, Interim President Stanley Ikenberry says budget cuts and employee furloughs weren't enough to balance the budget. "But students also are going to need to share a portion of the load," said Ikenberry. "Asking them to share at basically an inflationary rate is, I think, a good balance policy that's fair to students and other groups within the university." For incoming students, tuition will go up $902 dollars per year to $10,386 at the Urbana campus, $792 a year to $9,134 at the Chicago campus, and $706 per year to $8,108 at the Springfield campus.

Ikenberry also said at the meeting that Hogan deserves the higher salary. Ikenberry says Hogan's salary puts him in the middle of the pay scale for Big Ten presidents. He says Hogan has "superb academic credentials.

Categories: Economics, Education

AP - Illinois Public Media News - May 20, 2010

UI Extension Plans for Budget Shortfalls by Consolidating Many County Offices

The University of Illinois' educational outreach to the state is planning for big cuts over the next year.

U of I Extension plans to realign its offices in every county, combining several of those county offices into multi-county regions with shared administration. For example, one region would be made out of Champaign, Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion counties.

"We will have a hub office which will contain most of our people," said Bob Hoeft, the interim extension director. "In the counties that don't have the hub, they will have a satellite office. That office isn't going to be what we've had in the past -- it will probably be smaller. It will probably not be open every day of the week."

But Hoeft says the satellite offices would be able to provide clients with publications and other information without the need to make a long drive to another county. He says the target of the consolidation is to save $7 million over the next budget year, about the same amount of money U of I Extension had to cut from the current year's budget.

Categories: Business, Economics, Education

AP - Illinois Public Media News - May 19, 2010

Lawmakers and SEIU Question New U of I Pres Salary

University of Illinois trustees will vote Thursday (May 20th) to confirm the schools' incoming president and to raise tuition. But first ... a trio of legislators and union members will protest.

Michael Hogan will make $620,000 a year as the U of I's president. The last Illinois president. B. Joseph White, made $450,000.

State Senator Marty Sandoval of Cicero is one of several Democrats who say Hogan should forgo the hike. He says it will start Hogan off on the wrong foot ... given that the school's set to increase tuition by 9.5%.

"Everyone has been very public about holding the line on cost", says Sandoval. "And ... it's just apparent that the board of the University of Illinois, and President Hogan just don't get it. That people are hurting."

Sandoval wants a tuition freeze. The SEIU union says when its members are asked to take furloughs and accept layoffs, the university's top administrator should set an example. University spokesman Tom Hardy defends Hogan's package as comparable with peer institutions. Hardy says the pay is what's needed to get the best person for the job.

Categories: Education, Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - May 19, 2010

Ayers Lawsuit Against Wyoming College Being Dropped

Former 1960s radical and University of Illinois-Chicago Professor Bill Ayers and a student are dropping their lawsuit against the University of Wyoming.

Court papers asking that the lawsuit be dismissed with prejudice were filed Tuesday afternoon. The move will bring to a close a situation that caused some to question UW's commitment to academic freedom and others to criticize the college for inviting a person with Ayers' past.

Ayers and student Meghan Lanker filed the lawsuit a month ago in U.S. District Court, contending that the university was preventing Ayers from speaking on campus. They contended the college had violated their rights to free speech and assembly.

A judge granted a preliminary injunction that allowed Ayers to speak on campus, which he did on April 28.

Categories: Education

AP - Illinois Public Media News - May 19, 2010

State Liquor Panel Admits Clarity Needed In Happy Hour Promotions

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission admits some changes need to be made in laws concerning happy hour promotions at bars. The Commission dismissed some of those violations at its first-ever meeting in Urbana Tuesday. Most of the tickets were issued during the weekend of March 5th, when many University of Illinois students and guests celebrate 'Unofficial' St. Patrick's Day. Acting Commission Chairman Stephen Schnorf says it was never the panel's intention to punish a bar for misinterpreting the law.

"If we saw things that we thought were encouraging binge drinking or encouraging underage consumption, we wouldn't be very patient with that," said Schnorf. "In these cases, it looked like there were some legitimate misunderstandings, and so we want a little more clarity before we start doing rigorous enforcement in some of these areas of the happy hour law," The violations at Campustown bars like Kam's and Legends were related to concerns that they were offering discounts on refills, or that patrons gave off the impression that they were allowed to engage in binge drinking by purchasing two drinks at once.

Kam's owner Eric Meyer says happy hour laws have created confusion not only around campus area bars, but across the state. He says it's common knowledge that sports venues enable someone to purchase two drinks at once. "I think that's been a standard practice at most of our sporting venues." said Meyer. "We've been able to go up and grab two drinks everywhere we go. That's kind of common knowledge and this is probably an area that has not been enforced. I understand the agent's concern to enforce this during a weekend of great concern and potential binge drinking. I don't think that was the intention here of any of the individuals involved."

Most underage drinking violations handled by the state in Tuesday's 2-hour hearing concerned grocery and convenience stores in Champaign, Urbana, and Danville. Schnorf says the Liquor Control Commission's decision to hold hearings away from Springfield and Chicago was to accommodate bar owners and the attorneys representing them, letting them cut down on travel time.


AP - Illinois Public Media News - May 18, 2010

Urbana City Council Puts Recycling Pickup Bids on Hold

New contracts for residential recycling pickup in Urbana are on hold, until the city council gets answers about why apartment dwellers would be able to recycle more materials than those who live in single-family homes

The extra material in question is number six polystyrene plastic. Urbana-based Community Resource is offering to pick up the hard-to-recycle plastic --- except for foam --- in its winning bid for multi-family recycling in the city. But ABC Sanitary Hauling of Champaign would NOT recycle Number Six, under its winning bid to continue as Urbana's single-family curbside recycler.

Alderman Charlie Smyth says he wants both residential recycling programs in Urbana to accept Number Six Plastic.

"Because really, it's confusing to have one program doing more than the other", says Smyth. "I'll just as soon put my stuff in Multi-Family, because I'll be able to more. I want to be able to put all my plastic film and #6 plastic in, and not have to worry about checking all the stupid numbers. If I just know I can put every bit of plastic in the barrel, I'm going to be happy."

The Urbana City Council was set to vote on both the curbside and multi-family recycling bids Monday night. But now the issue goes back to the city council's Committee of the Whole for more discussion.


AP - Illinois Public Media News - May 17, 2010

Team Finds Duplication of Services In U of I’s Public Engagement Practices

The latest report aimed at cutting costs on the University of Illinois' Urbana campus suggests some redundancies are taking place, and that's partially brought on by a lack of communication.

College of Business Dean Larry DeBrock headed a team asked to review the Office of Vice Chancellor for Public Engagement. Units under it include the U of I's Office of Corporate Relations. DeBrock's team says that office doesn't always disseminate information it shares with the private sector with fundraising groups on campus. His team also learned that some faculty need more help in facilitating relationships with corporations. DeBrock says another key to his group's findings involved sustainable practices, like cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

"There's a lot of very great and intense interest in sustainability issues on this campus, as there are on all research campuses right now," said DeBrock. "Because these are imporatant issues off the front page of the newspaper, and they mean to where our society is going to go over the next generation that has caused a lot of interest among both faculty and students... indeed even the campus in a sense of thinking about the sustainability of our operations."

DeBrock's team suggests there should be a central position on the Urbana campus concerned with sustainability, but the group was unsure if a central office would be necessary for getting the message out. His group says the campus is missing an opportunity for failing to coordinate the work of U of I Facilities and Services with the energy efficient research, and studies of students and faculty.

The U of I will take letters in response to the report on Vice Chancellor for Public Engagement through May 28th.

Categories: Economics, Education

AP - Illinois Public Media News - May 17, 2010

Shriver to UI Graduates: “Find Your Why

The man who directs Special Olympics has challenged this year's graduating class at the University of Illinois to "find their "why."

Timothy Shriver told students at Sunday's commencement ceremonies that they face society in a crisis of values and they can help correct what current generations got wrong by searching for the reason why they are here. Shriver also let graduates know that the rest of their life is a continuation of their studies.

"Evey person you meet will be a new reading. I urge you to try to look beyond the covers and look at what lies within," Shriver said. "Every moment of sadness is an invitation to come see the professor, and every moment of happiness is the same. There is a final, except you won't attend it here."

Shriver heads Special Olympics, which was founded by his mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver. His cousin, U of I Trustees chair Christopher Kennedy, introduced him. Earlier in the commencement ceremonies, Kennedy apologized to graduates for the actions of the previous board of trustees - many members were forced out by last year's admissions scandal.

Categories: Education

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - May 13, 2010

New UI President Michael Hogan Vows To Take On Challenges

The University of Illinois' 18th president says it's easy to dwell on the financial problems of the state, rather than the good things the 3-campus institution has to offer. When introduced Wednesday, Michael Hogan also stressed the need to look beyond an admissions controversy that led to the previous president's resignation. The Iowa native got a large ovation in Urbana... about six weeks before he takes the helm of the U of I. Illinois Public Media's Jeff Bossert has this report:

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Categories: Economics, Education

AP - Illinois Public Media News - May 12, 2010

Michael Hogan Arrives in Urbana to Take the UI’s Helm in Tough Times

The next president of the University of Illinois will have the task of maneuvering the school through shrinking state funding and lingering mistrust.

But Michael Hogan says he's up to the task. Hogan today visited the Urbana campus, one day after his appointment was announced. Hogan is leaving the presidency of the University of Connecticut to take over for interim president Stan Ikenberry, who stepped in after the U of I admissions scandal. Hogan told trustees, faculty and students that he knows adversity.

"There are challenges ahead for the University -- everyone knows that. These are tough economic times not only here but for public and private higher education across the country," Hogan said. "But I'm looking forward -- I'm really looking forward -- to addressing these challenges, and mostly to addressing them in partnership with the faculty, the staff, the students and the board of this great university."

Hogan rose above more than 200 applicants for the U of I's top job, including other university presidents and provosts. Professor May Berenbaum sat on the search committee - she's happy that the U of I is still held in high esteem in spite of its problems.

"It speaks well for our campus and its reputation, and it's hope for the future that there were so many people who wanted to face those challenges," Berenbaum told Illinois Public Media's Celeste Quinn. "In that sense, it was quite reassuring -- daunting at first, but as the process unfolded it was more and more encouraging."

Hogan will receive a $620,000 salary according to the U of I plus a $225,000 retention bonus after five years. Trustees chair Chris Kennedy says even at that salary, the university is getting a bargain and is not paying top dollar.

Categories: Education, Government, Politics

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