Friday, January 8, 2010 Leave a comment
Originally published December 15, 2009 for the Daily Illini’s fall 2009 semester-in-review edition.
Here we are at the end of another semester, final exams the only thing standing between students and their grades. After agonizing over last assignments, projects, and now tests, we still get to play the torturous waiting game until grades are posted.
Thankfully, the University doesn’t have to wait for its report card. I’ve taken the liberty of compiling some of the biggest areas of concern this fall.
So, without further ado, U of I’s final semester grades:
Notes: Hey, remember Lincoln Hall, that building people used years ago for class or something? It’s been closed for so long most people can’t remember when they had a class in there. Of course, the building was closed for important reasons—namely, sitting unused until the legislature and Gov. Quinn sort of maybe approved the idea of funding for renovations in July and December 2009. The university began relocating classes in the fall of 2008, doesn’t plan to begin renovations until 2010, and won’t be finished until the fall semester of 2012.
Notes: Ex-Chancellor Herman sent out a mass e-mail way back in May the day the Chicago Tribune broke their “Clout Goes to College” series, which publicly revealed the existence of a clout list used in the university’s admissions process. The scandal continued into the fall, rocking student and university legislative bodies way more than the mostly-apathetic student body.
At some point, many of the members of the Board of Trustees got the hint and resigned. At least Joe White knew when to throw in the towel.
But not Herman! He hung on until the bitter end, and for his efforts, was reward with a year of paid sabbatical and a cushy teaching gig with a $240,000 salary.
The moral of this story: you can make big bucks tarnishing the reputation of a public institution founded as a land-grant university. You can also make big bucks being an untouchable Illinois legislator, none of whom were punished for their explicit involvement in the clout mess.
Budgeting Skills: F.
Notes: Speaking of Herman’s professorial salary, let’s consider the university’s ability to manage its finances.
We can apparently afford $115,000 paychecks and greater for people like Niranjan Shah’s (the ex-president of the Board of Trustees) future son-in-law, who was going to be employed here for less than nine months. But we still needed to raise student fees in November for the next academic year, and though the tuition rate is still a nebulous issue right now, I can guarantee that next fall’s new students will face a price hike.
Not to mention, of course, that since the Graduate Employees’ Organization’s contract ended in August (and well before), the University argued that it could not afford any increase in salary for TAs and GAs.
Knowing that the request for increased payment would anger people without adequate information on the strike situation (read: undergraduates), the University purposely argued that the proposed wage increase was the primary issue at hand.
Ouch, U of I. Sounds like you’ve got some room for improvement—no Dean’s List this semester. Try again in the spring.
Chelsea is a senior in LAS.