Champaign Senate on March 9 endorsed a report by the Hiring Policies and Procedures Review Committee that calls on the U. of I. Board of Trustees to formally delegate its authority to campus leaders for faculty hires below the level of dean.
That would mean delegating authority for most faculty hires to the president, who in turn would delegate the authority to the appropriate campus chancellor and provost, but it would allow the board to continue its traditional level of oversight for administrative appointments.
Supporters of the resolution to endorse the report said it was needed to ensure the board couldn't interfere with individual faculty appointments in the future.
Even if the board did not accept the recommendation, supporters said, it was important that the senate make the point that hiring should be in the hands of academic leaders.
Detractors said the board, despite having the power to affect individual faculty appointments, is charged with that responsibility under state law and there has been no indication its traditional practice of "active restraint" has changed.
Trustees did not discuss the matter at the board's March 12 meeting.
The report, endorsed by senators on a voice vote, was generated by a special committee formed in October by Ilesanmi Adesida, the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, and Roy Campbell, the chair of the Senate Executive Committee.
The report also calls for a review of university procedures for off-cycle tenure review to ensure they continue "to operate both rigorously and expeditiously."
A recent review of that report by the senate's General University Policy committee indicated that an official senate call for board restraint in hiring, other than a public statement recommitting to that concept, is unnecessary.
According to the report: "GUP believes that however one views that particular decision (Steven Salaita), it was an extraordinary circumstance triggered by a confluence of circumstances that have never occurred previously and are very unlikely to ever arise again."