Legislation Limits University Search Process

March 23, 2012

The Illinois House Friday approved a measure intended to prevent state universities from using private headhunters to find new faculty and administrators.

The proposal says no tuition or tax dollars could be used on outside search firms. Representative Chapin Rose says the state cannot afford to use headhunters. He says universities should be able to handle the job in-house.

"When you stop to consider the amount of people we're already paying that traditionally, 20 years ago, would do these functions -- why -- have we just gone completely insane?," Rose said. "Why can't they just do what was done 20 years ago which is go hire a dean or a faculty member or whoever?"

Rose, a Republican from Mahomet, says the University of Illinois spent more than $250-thousand dollars on an outside firm to find a new chancellor for the Urbana campus.

But he praised the Board of Trustees for naming longtime U of I administrator Robert Easter the next university president, without a search committee or headhunter. At least two lawmakers say the legislature might be micromanaging. Representative Ann Williams is a Democrat from Chicago.

"I'm wondering if there are any other examples in Illinois statute where we dictate how much, or what items can or cannot be expended by a public university," Williams said.

The measure passed 91 to 9 and now goes to the Senate.

Story source: WILL