Chairman Gerald Shea’s proposal for a 3 percent salary increase in FY04 for faculty and staff members making less than $150,000 per year was voted down by the UI Board of Trustees at its Nov. 14 meeting in Urbana.
"I feel there are a number of employees that can’t afford to go without a raise next year. I feel it’s time that somebody started looking after the people that make this place work—the little people," Shea said, in support of his proposal.
Trustee Marjorie Sodemann voted against the motion, saying that a 4 percent increase already was planned and expressing concern about "encumbering a future board" with the financial obligation. Three board members’ terms expire in January 2003: Susan Gravenhorst, who will not seek reappointment, Thomas Lamont and Roger Plummer.
Gravenhorst, who also opposed the increase, called it "fiscally imprudent."
The proposal was defeated in a 6-3 vote, with Lamont abstaining.
The trustees voted to postpone action on a proposed health and dental insurance reimbursement program for same-sex domestic partners. Under the proposal, employees would have been reimbursed for the difference between monthly premiums they pay for health and dental coverage for same sex partners and the monthly amount they would pay for dependent coverage under the state of Illinois plan.
The trustees voted in favor of Trustee Kenneth Schmidt’s request to remove the item from the agenda until the board’s next meeting to see if the new state legislature addresses the matter. The board’s next meeting will be Feb. 12-13 in Rockford.
The meeting was briefly disrupted at the end of the public comment portion when speaker Brooke Anderson, representing the Progressive Resource Action Cooperative, demanded that the trustees sign a resolution banning Chief Illiniwek. Anderson, who finished speaking before her allotted five minutes were up, refused to leave the podium, saying she would remain until the board voted to eliminate the Chief. Anderson also incited other protestors to chant anti-Chief slogans and they waved signs calling for the Chief’s removal. The room was cleared a few minutes later so the board could enter executive session.
In other business:
- University Vice President Stephen Rugg presented an assessment report on the condition of the university’s capital facilities, which indicated that $617 million in improvements need to be made within the next five years to keep facilities operating and prevent further deterioration. Rugg also recommended that building integrity initiatives be incorporated into future capital projects. Staff will present further recommendations and funding plans to the board in early 2003.
- The board approved the issuance of $26 million in certificates of participation to fund Phase One of the South Farms project on the Urbana campus. The first phase of the project includes constructing a new beef and sheep complex, clearing the existing site and acquiring land, with construction set to begin in June 2003.
- The board approved proposed designs for additions and renovations to the Intramural Physical Education Building (IMPE) on the Urbana campus. More than 103,000 square feet will be added to the building’s current 234,386 gross square footage, including 34,000 square feet for weight and fitness facilities, five new basketball courts and seven new multipurpose rooms. Students passed a referendum in Nov. 2001 to fund $77.6 million in improvements to IMPE and Campus Recreation Center East (CRCE) through an increase in their general fees.