News Local/State

U Of I Trustees: New Chair Named, Enrollment Plan Starts, New Calls for ‘Sanctuary’ Campus


The University of Illinois has launched an initiative to boost system-wide enrollment to more than 90,000 students by 2021. President Tim Killeen told Trustees at Thursday's Board of Trustees meeting in Chicago that as of 2014, 45-percent of Illinois’ high school graduates attended college outside of Illinois, so they’re less likely to return home to start a career and family.

“So we are exporting talent, we’re exporting careers, at scale," he said. "We want to turn those arrows around to the other direction. Not just retain, but actually attract from outside.”

U of I Executive Vice President Barbara Wilson says cost is the primary factor that’s driving students out of state, citing a need to boost scholarships and financial aid.

Killeen says to meet enrollment goals, the U of I needs to expand academic options and diversity while adapting to increasing numbers of transfer students and online courses. Killeen says by the year 2021, the initiative would boost enrollment on the Urbana campus alone by more than 6,000 students – for a total of just over 53,000.

Meanwhile, there’s still a call for University of Illinois leaders to declare the school a ‘sanctuary campus’, and take actions to protect those who are in the country illegally from deportation. Protesters attended Thursday’s meeting, a day before Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration.

Joe Padilla, a coordinator of UIC Student Action, says such students were afraid to come forward and speak. He says Chicago’s status as a ‘Sanctuary City’ isn’t enough by itself to protect some of his fellow students from Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

“Instead of waiting in anxious sweat and worry, hoping for the best, we can make sure that ICE comes nowhere near our students, and that we live up to the high ambitions and commitment this university was established with," he said.

Protesters’ demands include restricting any collaboration with ICE, investigating any campus hate crimes to the full extent of the law, and making sure campus police officers don’t inquire into immigration status unless required by court order.

Last month, U of I President Tim Killeen said creating a ‘sanctuary campus’ would violate federal law.  But he and Executive Vice President Barb Wilson had planned to meet with a group of students who are in the country illegally after Thursday’s meeting.

U of I Trustees have decided for a third-straight year not to raise tuition rates next fall for in-state freshmen.

School officials say it's the longest time tuition rates have held steady for four years since the mid-1970s. The school noted that trustees made the decision despite the lack of a state budget that has reduced government funding for the University of Illinois system for the last two years.
The vote means that base tuition for in-state freshmen will be about $12,000 a year at the Urbana-Champaign campus, about $9,400 in Springfield and $10,580 in Chicago. Chicago freshmen business administration students will have to pay an addition $150 annually for a tuition differential.

The Board has a new chairman. Dr. Timothy Koritz of Roscoe, who’s served on the board since 2009, was elected to a one-year term. Koritz is a graduate of the U of I, and its College of Medicine at Rockford. He’s an anesthesiologist at Rockford Memorial Hospital. 

Koritz succeeds Ed McMillan, who has served as chair for the last two years, but stepped down Thursday, citing his belief there should be term limits at the position.

Three trustee terms expired Monday. The school is awaiting Gov. Bruce Rauner's appointments to those positions.