Dear Editor:

Your [News-Gazette]December 10 editorial chiding state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson for proposing faculty representation on the U of I Board of Trustees greatly misrepresents the role of our University’s faculty. I doubt you would publish such an editorial about a proposal to add doctors to the governing board of a hospital. You certainly would not show such disdain for the doctors staffing that hospital, likening them, as you did in this case, to inmates of an asylum. Faculty set curricula and work to pass on the special knowledge of their field to their students. Trustees and administrators do not, and indeed cannot, tell faculty how to do this.

As with any great university, members of the U of I’s faculty already play a major role in the administration of the academic enterprise. Were they mere employees, faculty would not fund the organization in which they work. In reality, more than a third of the money coming to the University is brought to our community and state by research grants obtained by members of the University’s world class faculty. Direct State appropriations, on the other hand, amount to less than eighteen percent of the University’s budget; this year, the State has failed to supply even that small share of the money needed to run the University. It will be left to the faculty to shield students from that failure.

In your editorial you say “shame on state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson”, but in fact, the shame is on you: The many members of the University faculty living in the community you claim to represent and the readers who buy your paper all deserve editorial opinions that are at least minimally informed.
-Peter Loeb

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