Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner recently appointed John C. Bambenek to the Illinois Board of Higher Education as the sole faculty representative. Many have criticized the move by claiming that Bambenek’s views aren’t representative of most faculty members. I claim this is irrelevant. What is relevant is that Bambenek should not be eligible to serve as the lone faculty representative to the IBHE since he isn’t even eligible to represent the University of Illinois faculty on their Senate.
As Chair of the Faculty Senate at WIU and as someone who has written about the importance of the IBHE and Illinois philosophy programs on this blog, I reached out to Professor Gay Miller, the current Senate Executive Committee Chair at Illinois, and she confirms what I suspected: Mr. Bambenek is ineligible to represent faculty on their Senate by both Board of Trustee Statutes and their Faculty Senate Constitution. You can find the eligibility requirements on the Senate Election Rules for the Faculty Electorate page (below the fold in blue).
The Illinois State Senate still has to approve Rauner’s appointment. State Senator Antonio Muñoz is the Chair of the Executive Appointment Committee. Professor Gay is sending letters to both Senator Muñoz and Governor Rauner objecting to Bambenek’s appointment. There is still time for philosophers, faculty, and citizens of Illinois to ask for an actual faculty member who understands the needs and concerns of faculty in Illinois to represent them on the IBHE.
5.1 General Qualifications. The Constitution, Article II, Section 1, provides; The faculty electorate is composed of those members of the academic staff who are directly engaged in and responsible for the educational function of the University; ordinarily this will involve teaching and research. Specifically, the faculty electorate shall consist of all persons of the campus non-visiting academic staff, other than persons holding administrative appointments in excess of one-half time (the exception to this exclusion are executive officers of departments or similar units, and assistant or associate executive officers of such units, who are otherwise eligible), who:
(a.) Are tenured or receiving probationary credit toward tenure or in the preceding year received probationary credit toward tenure or hold the unmodified academic rank or title of professor, associate professor, or assistant professor without tenure, have at least a one-half time appointment, and are paid for their services by the University; or
(b.) hold the academic title of instructor or lecturer, have a full-time appointment, and are paid by the University, are not candidates for a degree from this University, and are designated by their voting units for inclusion in the faculty electorate; or
(c.) are retired members of the campus academic staff with the title of emeritus, and would otherwise be eligible for inclusion in the faculty electorate. However, retired members shall not be counted for purposes of determining apportionment.