University of Illinois

U Of I AD Fired, Will Get $2.5M Buyout

Nov 9, 2015
illinois Public Media

University of Illinois Interim Urbana Chancellor Barbara Wilson says the decision to fire athletic director Mike Thomas came after a law firm’s release of a final report into abuse allegations within the football and women’s basketball programs.

University of Illinois Public Affairs

Illinois' elementary and high schools are operating as normal; funding for education was the only spending spared from Governor Bruce Rauner's veto pen. But universities are another story. They haven't gotten a dollar from the state since July.

Collectively, Illinois' public universities educate some 200,000 students a year. Now, the campuses are "on the brink of serious operational damage."

The University of Illinois plans to reduce off-campus crop research and may shut down several agricultural centers as part of a cost-cutting move tied to flagging state support.
The budget cuts will affect the Brownstown Agronomy Research Center near Vandalia; the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center in southern Illinois; the St. Charles Horticulture Research Center west of Chicago; and the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center near DeKalb.

Univ. of Illinois

A former University of Illinois graduate student is suing the school's board of trustees and others, claiming administrators retaliated against her after she accused a visiting researcher of sexual harassment.

The University of Illinois is grappling with a requirement of the Affordable Care Act that takes effect in 2016.

Effective January 1st, the university will have to offer health insurance to ALL employees working 30 hours a week or more.  That will include some 23-hundred so-called contingent or temporary employees who don’t qualify for the healthcare that other state workers receive.

University of Illinois

Illinois has fired football coach Tim Beckman one week before the start of the season, citing preliminary results of an investigation into allegations of player mistreatment and inappropriate behavior.  

Athletic director Mike Thomas said Friday that the timing is unfortunate, but ``it was in the best interests of student-athletes to act now rather than when a final report is issued and publicly released.'' He says that could happen during the season.

The University of Illinois will name the new court at the State Farm Center after longtime Illini coach Lou Henson.  

The university announced the move Monday, saying the Lou Henson Court will bear the 83-year-old former coach's signature.  

Henson is the winningest coach in the history of the University of Illinois. He won 423 games in 21 seasons. This year, he was named to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame and is due to be inducted in November.  

Henson is also battling what he has called pre-leukemia and is undergoing chemotherapy.  

The University of Illinois is getting by with no new state funding, as the budget impasse continues in Springfield. U of I President Timothy Killeen says they can continue this way for a few more weeks --- but after that, there could be trouble.

Univ. of Illinois

It’s been nearly a week since Phyllis Wise abruptly stepped down as chancellor of the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus. She cited "external issues" that have “distracted us from the important tasks at hand.”

The day after Wise resigned, the U of I released hundreds of emails in response to Freedom of Information requests. Many of the emails were sent to and from Wise's personal email accounts. They revealed that she also encouraged others to use their private emails, in an effort to skirt FOIA law.

The University of Illinois’ Urbana campus chancellor and athletic director don’t expect any personnel changes in the women’s basketball program – after a law firm hired by the university found no evidence of racial discrimination or player abuse.

A Chicago firm said the claims of a racially hostile environment… in a lawsuit filed by seven former players… are unsupported.

University of Illinois employees won't see pay raises, at least until a state budget is finalized. 

Nearly a month into the new fiscal year, the university is still waiting to see the impact of budget negotiations.


The American Association of University Professors voted today to censure the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the state’s flagship university. Censure is a means of informing the academic community worldwide that the administration of an institution “has not adhered to generally recognized principles of academic freedom and tenure.”

Timothy Killeen will make this announcement today, in a speech at the City Club of Chicago. 

University of Illinois

The chancellor at the University of Illinois' flagship campus says she expects the campus to be censured by the American Association of University Professors over the decision not to hire a professor following his anti-Israel Twitter messages. 

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Heavyweights from each of Illinois' public universities gathered for a rare meeting at the state Capitol yesterday.

It's thought to be the first time leaders from all nine state schools have collectively met with the governor's office and the leaders in the General Assembly.

David Wilson / davidwilson1949 via

Governor Bruce Rauner's proposed 40 percent cut in Amtrak funding drew objections from 16 university and municipal officials on Tuesday morning. 

 Schools as small as Spoon River College and as large as the University of Illinois flagship in Urbana-Champaign rely on Amtrak trains to bring their students to campus. They say the cut would reduce services and negatively affect enrollment at all downstate schools.  

Univ. of Illinois

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees has voted to give retiring President Robert Easter a bonus as he prepares to retire.

Easter will receive the additional $167,200 even though he is leaving office May 18.

Board Chairman Ed McMillan says the award was performance based and a part of the president's contract.

"So it wasn't a raise it was actually the payment of the performance bonus objectives which was established at the beginning of the year," McMillan said.


Under Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget proposal, public universities are facing a 32 percent cut. Legislators took testimony Thursday on how those cuts would affect each school. 

Each school president testified that Rauner’s reductions would force them to cut courses, decrease scholarships, and layoff staff. Illinois State University say it might have to cut 400 jobs. Northern Illinois University could raise freshman tuition by 75 percent.

A prominent civil rights activist and academic has canceled a speech at the University of Illinois because of the school's decision to rescind a job offer to a Native American studies professor.  

Cornel West said Wednesday that he will not speak at the Urbana-Champaign campus because of the dispute between the university and Steven Salaita. West was scheduled to deliver a lecture in April.  

He called the university's decision to rescind the job offer ``a moral scandal.''  
 A university spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  

Illinois General Assembly

Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed a large budget cut for higher education, including the University of Illinois.

Illinois Sen. Scott Bennett is trying to stop the governor from slashing the U of I's budget, and he's beginning to fight that battle with a stack of paper and a list of names. Bennett, who is from Champaign, where the University of Illinois' main campus is located, has started a petition in opposition to Rauner's plan.

Bennett says the names he collects signify more than a line on a budget.

U Of I Responds To Governor's Budget

Feb 18, 2015

A top University of Illinois administrator says everything is on the table after Republican Governor Bruce Rauner proposed a thirty percent cut to state higher education funding.

Christophe Pierre, the U of I's Vice President for Academic Affairs, calls today's (Wednesday's) budget proposal disappointing. He says the university has other sources of revenue, but many come with restrictions on how the money is spent.

Faculty at the University of Illinois Springfield will be unionized for the first time in two decades. 

The campus last had a faculty union when it was known as Sangamon State University.  But that was disbanded when it became part of the University of Illinois in the mid 90's.  

137 faculty members voted in favor of a new union which will negotiate issues from wages and benefits to shared governance.  A final vote total was unavailable.


Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to hammer away at the unions and government bureaucracies he believes are behind many of state's problems.
During a speech Thursday at the University of Illinois he said he'd like to put more money into the university. But he said first the university must make cuts in its own bureaucracy.
And Rauner said public-employee unions should be barred from making contributions to politicians they negotiate contracts with.

Severances and bonuses seem to be a way of life for Illinois colleges and universities.

College of DuPage officials have voted to approve a  $762,000 buyout package for the school's president when he retires next year.
 The board of trustees accepted the severance deal Thursday as part a four-page agreement regarding the early retirement of President Robert Breuder next March.

Incoming freshmen from Illinois would see no increase in base tuition at the University of Illinois next fall under a proposal announced by the school's leadership.
It will go to the full board on Jan. 15 at a meeting in Chicago.
The proposal calls for in-state tuition that matches rates for the current
school year. That's $12,036 a year in Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 in Chicago and
$9,405 in Springfield.
University officials say holding the line on tuition will help middle-class

Jim Meadows, WILL

A committee investigating the University of Illinois’ handling of Steven Salaita -- a professor whose job offer with the university was withdrawn due to his social media posts -- issued a report today criticizing school officials.  Phyllis Wise, chancellor of the University of Illinois’ main campus, violated procedures when she failed to consult key academic officers before telling a controversial professor that he would not get the job he had been promised.

University of Illinois

 A University of Illinois task force on sexual assault has started meeting and plans to survey the school's three campuses to assess the situation at each.  

University spokesman Tom Hardy says the new task force met for the first time Wednesday. The group is supposed to finish surveys at the Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield campuses by the spring.

Incoming University of Illinois system president Timothy Killeen says he's negotiating to begin his new job earlier than his official July 1 start date.  

Killeen tells the Chicago Sun-Times ( he'll be a regular presence on the University of Illinois campuses ``and the start date might move forward.'' Killeen is replacing the retiring university President Robert Easter. He didn't give an exact date but says he hopes to start work in late spring.  


Don Fullerton is associate director of IGPA for Urbana-Champaign and a member of the IGPA faculty. He is an expert on tax policy, energy and environmental policy issues. Julian Reif is an expert in health economics and policy.

They wrote the following op-ed.

Last year, the Panzier Lane bridge in Jefferson County collapsed while a truck was driving over it. The driver was unharmed, but as reconstruction began last month, officials estimated it will cost more than half a million dollars to repair.

The University of Illinois system has hired State University of New York Vice Chancellor for Research Timothy L. Killeen as its next president.  

The university announced Wednesday that the 62-year-old Killeen will become president when current President Robert Easter retires in June.  

The 67-year-old Easter became president in 2012 during a period of turmoil.  
 Both of his predecessors, Michael Hogan and B. Joseph White, resigned under pressure. Easter is credited by many with overseeing a relatively calm period.