Introduction: The UIUC Board of Trustee policies for rehiring retirees, as implemented by President White beginning Summer 2005, was of significant concern to many. Under this “pre-approval” practice, the BOT formally reviewed and approved virtually all new appointments and reappointments of UI retirees before the person’s employment was to begin, a “hands-on” approach by the board that seemed unwieldy and in conflict with the President’s authority to make “day to day” non-faculty hiring decisions as described in the University Statutes. The actions of the Illinois Chapter of AAUP on this matter are described below.
(a) January 2006 Meeting with Assoc. Provost Peg Rawles: In January 2006, Peg Rawles, Associate Provost and Director, Academic Human Resources (AHR), joined the UIUC AAUP Policy Committee to discuss University and campus policies on this issue. She provided background and described implementation of the policy on the UIUC campus. Policy Committee members raised various questions. Rawles noted our concerns and was optimistic that the Board of Trustees and the President would establish a more effective, less bureaucratic approach for rehiring most retirees.
(b) Continuing Discussion by Policy Committee through June 2006: The discussion of this issue continued during the 2006 Spring Semester and was a major topic at the June meeting of the Policy Committee. A wide-ranging discussion culminated in the adoption of a resolution: “That the practices for primary approval of retiree rehiring at the University of Illinois be returned to the previously established practices, where such approvals are the responsibility of the primary unit, the dean/director, provost, chancellor and the president, subject to final approval by the Board of Trustees as described in the University Statutes.”
(c) Actions Preceding the July 2006 BOT Meeting: On June 19, the UIUC Senate Executive Committee endorsed the AAUP resolution. On June 20, AAUP representatives Uchtmann, Belford, Burton, and Andersen met with President White. They provided him with a copy of the resolution and discussed concerns of the Policy Committee. On June 22, Uchtmann also sent a letter to the Chair of the BOT (Trustee Eppley) and the Chair of the Human Resources Committee (Trustee Sodemann) which quoted the resolution and provided a synthesis of the reasoning behind it.
(d) BOT Action and AAUP Follow-up: On July 13, 2006 the BOT adopted a revised approach for “Hiring University of Illinois Retirees.” The new approach represents significant progress on the re-hiring issue in that the board is no longer requiring prior board approval of most re-hire arrangements. The revised approach can be accessed from the BOT Website at http://www.uillinois.edu/trustees/agenda/July%2013,%202006–Approved%20&%20Reported/a014%20jul%20Retirees%20hiring%206-26-06.pdf
Follow-up communications were sent to President White and Trustees Eppley and Sodemann thanking them for significant progress on this matter. An excerpt from Uchtmann’s July 27 letter to Trustees Eppley and Sodemann concluded by saying . . . “On behalf of the UIUC Chapter of AAUP, I thank you for considering our views [the views of the AAUP Policy Committee] and the insights of other faculty advisory groups as you worked with President White and the three Chancellors to resolve this matter. Please convey our thanks to the entire Board of Trustees.”