Caption: Board of Trustees Minutes - 1992
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UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
Mr. Lawless then spoke, saying that whatever happened, the board still had to work together and serve the students well. He further noted that politicization was ugly and that he hoped the new president would be concerned about students. Ms. Reese asked to speak and spoke from prepared remarks.
Because this board is subject to the Open Meetings Act, I believe everyone in this room should know what everyone seated at the board table already knows, which is that today's selection of a board president is by no means an election wherein people can vote their conscience, or even as has been understood and practiced by previous boards of the University. In the past, trustees gained the respect of their colleagues the old-fashioned way: they earned it. Meeting by meeting, issue by issue, they earned it until they had sufficiently learned and matured to the point their colleagues felt they could be trusted to lead the board for a two-year period. Ladies and gentlemen, I am very sorry to inform you that the transition we are about to witness is not a result of that process. It is instead the culmination of a multi-year effort by certain unions in the organized labor movement, as well as other political special interest groups, to gain one or more spokespersons on this board in order to present their views and offer their motions so as to influence University negotiations during collective bargaining as well as University policy on other issues. Today, and for at least the next year, those interests have apparently succeeded. If there is any hope that can be gleaned from today's transfer (I cannot call it an election), it is perhaps that it will motivate members of both parties to separate the membership and leadership of this board from whoever happens to be running for president, senator, or governor. The qualities required for trusteeship, which Tom Lamont so ably personified, bear no relationship whatsoever to the size of voter turnout, ballot name, ballot position, or whoever happens to be at the top of the ticket in a given election year. The University clearly needs and deserves board leadership that is not beholden to or intimidated by outside forces including the chairman of a political party. I particularly regret that our new trustees, at the most vulnerable time in their tenures, when they cannot possibly have any perspective on what characteristics are required in a board leader, have been influenced in this tainted process. Trustees need to be allowed to concentrate on preserving and enhancing the quality of the University, rather than repaying personal political debts with University resources.
President Lamont then called for a vote, and Mrs. Calder was elected president of the board to serve until the next annual meeting of the board or until her successor shall have been elected. Following the vote, Ms. Lopez rose to speak to the aforesaid that she hoped that the board did not find the foregoing comments about politics appropriate, saying that she thought that as each member had run for the position of trustee in order to serve the University, she thought that the trustees ought not regard the political process as distasteful. Mrs. Calder then assumed the chair and addressed the board. She told them that she recognized that change was difficult but that she