With 10 days left before the election, significant changes are right around the corner. Our next edition will have a recap of the election results. In the meantime, below are summaries of recent University of Illinois engagements with the Administration and the Illinois delegation.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Robert Jones joined several other university leaders and the presidents of the American Council on Education, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and the Association of American Universities in meetings regarding subsidized student health insurance plans (SHIP) for graduate student employees. The group met with the Departments of Treasury, Labor and Health and Human Services, as well as with the White House Domestic Policy Council.
By some interpretations of the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate, the provision of subsidized SHIP coverage for graduate student employees is not permitted. This past February, temporary relief was granted to institutions through the 2016-17 academic year. Last Friday, the departments released additional guidance that extended temporary relief for the indefinite future. While universities were thankful for this announcement, our community will continue to seek permanent guidance or legislation that will clarify our ability to continue offering these subsidies.
Durbin Visits Urbana-Champaign and Chicago
Last week, Sen. Dick Durbin spent several hours on the Urbana-Champaign campus. His visit consisted of a meeting with U of I President Tim Killeen and Chancellor Robert Jones, and another with Interim Provost Ed Feser and Dr. Matthew Gibb, Carle’s chief medical officer, in order to receive an update on the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. He also convened a roundtable discussion on mental health services on college campuses.
Sen. Durbin has sponsored legislation—the Mental Health on Campus Improvement Act—which would make federal assistance available for campuses to expand their mental health awareness, outreach and direct support services. Roundtable participants included Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Renee Romano, representatives from Urbana’s Counseling Center, and students involved with NAMI-UIUC, an official affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Sen. Durbin concluded his visit by delivering a lecture as part of a series hosted by the College of Law called the New Lincoln Lectures: What Abraham Lincoln Means to the 21st Century. Dean Vikram Amar provided opening remarks and introduced the senator.
Sen. Durbin also visited UIC earlier this week to learn more about its College of Dentistry. He first met with the college's leadership, where he heard about how the college is a leader in oral health education, clinical care and research. He then toured the college's facilities, including its Center for Wound Healing and Tissue Regeneration, its Implant and Innovations Center, its Pre-Patient Care Simulation Clinic and its Pediatric Dentistry Graduate Clinic.
UIC co-hosted a Hispanic Heritage Month breakfast event earlier this month with Gov. Bruce Rauner and Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti during which Chancellor Michael Amiridis provided remarks. U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly attended this event, and also spent an additional hour on campus to receive a tour of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL), led by EVL's Director, Maxine Brown. She explored CAVE2, a next-generation, large-scale virtual-reality environment funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.
Melissa Haas | Acting Director | OGR Federal Relations