Think, Know, Prove–Residency

Think, Know, Prove is a regular Saturday feature, where a topic with both mystery and importance is posted for community discussion. The title is a shortened version of the Investigative Mantra: What do we think, what do we know, what can we prove? and everything from wild speculation to resource referencing fact is welcome here.

As promised in the discussion under the Union page, I want to dedicate this week’s TKP to the issue raised by slg–namely, the Residency Requirement.

As I stated there, the Residency Requirement is not contractual (although, interestingly, there is union history with the issue), nor is it required (or precluded) by State law (at least not for us).

I learned some interesting things as I poked around on this. First, the requirement is a Board Rule (3.7(a)), which you can check out for yourself at the above link. If you do, you’ll notice some interesting things: employees hired before July 1, 1977 are exempt and the rule has been revised twice (September 2001 and September 2008). The September 2008 revision moved the date for the certifying of your residency from July to February (since we don’t work in July, I think, which apparently only took about 31 years to be a problem). I can’t tell what the 2001 revision was because the board report from that month is not posted on the web site. Not sure why. In any case, the revision involved renumbering and something else, which was likely minor.

The rule has some interesting history, which you can read about (for free) if you’re on campus and do a quick search in the Tribune archives from 1976 and 1977. According to one article, the rule originally passed the Board in July of 1976 (a Bicentennial present!) by a 5 to 1 vote. The lone dissenter said, “An American citizen ought to have the right to live wherever he chooses to live and not as a condition of employment.”

The Union apparently went nuts about it, decrying the costs for employees and the rest; Norm Swenson is quoted in the article saying the rule “violates our rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.”

Clearly, though, the rule was not so much a board initiative as a political one, sent over from City Hall. Earlier that same year, Mayor Daley (Richard J., Richie’s father) ordered a residency requirement for all city employees. The article says “a court decision upheld the order in the cases of police and firemen because they are considered 24-hour-a-day employees.” The board member who introduced the measure claimed that the requirement “would aid in hiring administrators, teachers, and other employees who are highly motivated and deeply committed to an urban college system, and who are more likely to be involved in college and community activities, bringing them in contact with community leaders and residents, and who are more likely to be committed to the futures of the community and City Colleges.” Another article, linked to below, suggests that the rule dates to a City Hall initiative that originated in the 60s in an effort to stem the pervasive “white flight” and shore up the city’s middle class tax base. (There is certainly some support that THIS is the real motivation for the rule, given Mayor Daley’s comments just this week (see below). But I’m getting ahead of myself.)

When it was passed, the rule affected just under 700 employees, including 63 administrators (out of 161), 543 full time faculty (out of 1450), and 64 clerical employees (427). Janitors and security weren’t added until 1980.

(Look at those numbers again. Those are district wide employment numbers. In 1976, there were 9 full time faculty members for every administrator (including district office). According to my math, our college currently has about 5 full time faculty members for each administrator and that is WITHOUT counting anyone from district. Amazing. But I digress.)

The same article mentions that Swenson had plans to make an issue of the new rule in the next contract negotiations in light of a federal judge’s ruling that the board had the right to issue the rule (the judge also ruled that the board had the right to give an administrator $3000 to help cover the expense of moving into the city, even though they were giving faculty nothing–ha!). The Union swung its clout around down in Springfield because eight months later, in August of ’77, the Tribune reports that Republican Governor Jim Thompson signed a bill that prohibited public junior colleges from forcing residency requirements on their current teachers along with another one for regular school teachers. “The bills don’t apply to teachers hired in the future,” the article notes.

Hence the exemption.

From there I couldn’t find a single mention of the City College’s residency requirement, so it must have gone relatively unchallenged after that (there is, you know, a history in the Union of negotiating for current membership at the expense of future membership, but I’ll leave that one, too, for another day). The next bit of news about residency requirements doesn’t turn up until 1980, when the City Council passed an ordinance requiring all Chicago Board of Education employees to live in Chicago. Mayor Jane Byrne refused to sign the ordinance into law on the grounds of her doubts about its constitutionality, but she didn’t veto it either, so it became law.

The Teacher’s Union challenged the ordinance and a weaker Board of Ed rule, but apparently lost on one or both, because in 1996, (as reported in an article written by the Mayor’s current Press Secretary, Jacquelyn Heard), Paul Vallas warned the 4,400 CPS employees who were out of compliance with the rule that he’d be enforcing it. That was just about a year after Mayor Daley (Richard M by then) struck a deal with Governor Edgar and the downstate Republicans to take over the Chicago schools (the board was cut from 15 to 5, the grassroots nomination process was abandoned and the Mayor was given power to name the board members and CEO. Also, they gave him access to money that had formerly been restricted. He then named Paul Vallas as the CEO of the schools and Gery Chico–our recently named, new Board Chair–as the Chair of the School Board).

Six months later, on November 20th, Vallas backed off, offering a reprieve for the 4000 teachers still not complying, and extending the rule to Principals, though that extension would be revoked a few years later.

School teachers apparently tried to do something about the rule (through Springfield legislation) in 2002 and 2007, but to no avail. This year, though, they have found some success. Interestingly, Chicago is one of only two major cities in the country with a residency requirement for teachers. The other is Milwaukee, and they ALSO have legislation in motion to remove the requirement.

As slg noted, a couple of weeks ago, new legislation passed the State Senate that would block residency requirements as conditions of employment for schools. It is my impression, though, that the law would apply to school districts, as in K-12, not community college districts. We are covered in a different area of the Illinois code, and so, I’m pretty sure the law, even if passed, would not affect our rule. The passage, though, is far from guaranteed. Governor Quinn came out the other day saying that he opposed the change, and Mayor Daley got worked up about it at a press conference, too. He is clearly not a fan of any attempt to change the rule, and, so, given that our new Board Chair and most of the Board are Friends of Richard, I’d say it’s exceedingly unlikely–unless I’m wrong about the scope of the bill currently under consideration in the State House or someone decides to propose and pass a similar bill for us–that the rule is going to change because they think it should. You may have wondered why I have included all of the history above? Well, my point is that this rule is a political one and our board is a political animal, and so to gauge the likelihood of our board changing the rules requires at least a licked finger being stuck up in the air to get a sense of which way the political winds are blowing. As in years past, the wind is not a favorable one for changing this rule, I’d say.

The question, at long last, then, is whether WE think it should change. Do we? Do you? I know where Art DiVito stands on it (though I hope he will be moved to pick up his quill and declare his feelings for one and all), but I really have no idea about anyone else. I like living in the city, and I like where I live now, so, to be honest, I don’t think about the rule much except as a kind of abstraction. With respect to the principle of the thing, I am a big fan of autonomy, and so really don’t like the restrictive nature of the rule, especially as real estate prices in the city have skyrocketed, but I also have some sympathy for the idea that we should live as city residents and citizens if we are teaching at City Colleges (and teaching, primarily, City-living students). I don’t like it enough to argue for it, but I don’t dislike it enough to revolt (no doubt, in large part because I’m not negatively affected by its existence, at least not at the moment).

But if there were to be a consensus out there on the issue, one that we could point to and count on, then I think Faculty Council might be able to make something of the issue. We could at least bring it up and talk about it.

So, in regard to the CCC residency requirement, what do you think, what do you know, what can you prove?

UPDATE: Oops. Forgot the poll…

UPDATE 2: A Second Poll, per suggestion in the comments (slightly tweaked)

9 thoughts on “Think, Know, Prove–Residency

  1. I don’t know for certain, but after doing some digging around on my own, I believe that the 2001 change allowed for an employee who married an employees that was exempt from the rule to also be exempt from the rule.

  2. My God, where do I begin? I am quite the wrong person to lay out a stream of consciousness (a popular 60s idea, … ah, the 60s, the loving origins of our national loss of innocence). Do I begin with the favored liberal quote, “The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference”? Do I begin with the fact that we have this rule precisely because we are too “liberal” to fight it?

    Do I begin by trying to explain to the world that this bit of social engineering — residency rules — is not just America’s dirty little secret (once during a union House of Representative meeting, I had to make a speech about residency, … it’s a long story, the essence of which is that the union leadership was trying to pull our opposition to it from our legislative agenda, … anyway, I was utterly amazed by the fact that so many of our suburban colleagues had NO IDEA there even was such a rule, and they were absolutely appalled by it!), but it is likely the very first major national act of Political Correctness, … a movement that, in my opinion, is now threatening to transform this nation into an Orwellian society. (Orwell only got two things wrong: the date, and “big brother,” … little could he know, … it would be “big sister”! … That’s a joke, okay? … It’s just a joke!) But what is not a joke is that we will have “1984” precisely because we will ASK for “1984.” Probably the only thing Major Daley loves more than the Residency Law is those cameras on all those street corners. Raise your hands if love that stuff too.

    And do you love the demise of Chief Illiniwek, … and do you love the rise and oppression of these EEO offices popping up everywhere and playing police, judge, and jury with, in my opinion, little or no regard for our individual liberties?

    Aren’t we a proud bunch? I’d imagine you’d have a hard time finding ten folks in all of HWC that voted for the Republican in the last, what?, five presidential elections? Or, say 20 folks who don’t feel it is okay to insist that George W. was a “liar,” etc. Isn’t that great? We have folks here who would argue fervently against any law that would kill a fetus almost up to the time it sticks its head out, … but how dare we fight for the right of a person to CHOOSE to live wherever the hell they please! No hypocrisy here. Multiculturalism and diversity indeed!

    You know what, Dave? I am not only indifferent to Country Music (such as you appear to be about Residency), … I’ll just admit it: I actually DON”T LIKE Country Music. … But I respect Country Music, … and I respect the folks that play it, and the folks that listen to it. … And I would defend to my death the right to have Country Music played and heard in this nation! … And unless and until my colleagues could learn to feel the same way about a person’s right to live wherever they want, I will not believe that we are truly “liberal,” that we understand the first thing about “multiculturalism and diversity,” that we have any appreciation at all for the individual rights and liberties our founders tried to express in the Declaration and the Bill of Rights.

    The nation has now gone way too far in Political Correctness. (in my opinion, the rise of the EEO offices marks the final straw. Please, please, do not confuse PC with such individual liberty fights as ending slavery, the civil rights movement, ending intolerance for sexual orientation, etc.) Methinks it’s time for some litmus tests: put Chief Iliniwek back, and rid these pathetic residency laws. Those would be a good and welcomed start.

    I better stop here. Besides, I have a tennis match. It’s in the suburbs. Oops! Sorry if that offended anyone.

    • Sorry to get you so riled up on such a beautiful day, Art–hopefully you’ll take it out on your opponent (and if you did, you’re welcome!).

      I’m not sure which parts of your response, if any, are aimed at the original post and which, if any, at the Realist’s response, but I would just like to point out one thing in response because I seem to have not been very clear on this point. I feel ambivalence about the rule (not indifference/apathy), and, as I’m sure you know, ambivalence is not the same thing as apathy.

      • Oh, and one more thing–I would also like to point out that the rule was originally pushed by the original Mayor Daley, who, it might fairly be said, was far from committed to liberal causes (his Democratic Party affiliation notwithstanding), and it is supported by his son, who is, shall we say, far from “progressive” politically speaking.

        You’re right, though, Art, in suggesting that through the years it’s been consistently the more “conservative” politicians who oppose the rule and the more “liberal” politicians who have opposed it.

        I’m not sure how the rest of it fits together (EEO offices are the devil? Who knew?), and my father tells me that I’m not smart enough to see things the way they really are. So, I’m just going to leave all that alone and go do some banjo pickin’ on my porch. I might even start with, “Mama Don’t ‘low no Pickin’ in Here” just for you Art. You’re welcome!

    • “We have folks here who would argue fervently against any law that would kill a fetus almost up to the time it sticks its head out, … but how dare we fight for the right of a person to CHOOSE to live wherever the hell they please!”

      Really? You are equating having to live in the city with a late term abortion? Really? Your rant would be better received if it actually made some sense.

  3. I agree with the premise that living in Chicago will give one a better understanding of the Chicago community, and will therefore enhance a faculty member’s understanding of the community they are teaching. But is that sufficient reason to justify a residency requirement? Of all the factors that make a faculty person better at teaching, I don’t see how this is special, let alone essential.

    An understanding of a community does not give equal benefit for all disciplines. A humanities professor will gain tremendous benefit from an understanding of the community. Someone who teaches calculus will probably not benefit as much.

    The law doesn’t take into account the many other factors that contribute to a person’s understanding of the community. A professor who lived in Schaumburg, but who has taught in Chicago for twenty years will most likely have a much greater understanding of the Chicago community than a professor who moved to the Lakeview neighborhood two years ago.

    Finally, if the idea behind the requirement is to enhance our faculty’s understanding of the community, then to the extent that (1) living in a community enhances one’s understanding of the community, and to the extent that (2) the CCC faculty is an intellectual community itself, the CCC community will actually have less self-awareness of their urban community as otherwise. The implication of the law is that amongst all the CCC full-time faculty, none of them live in the suburbs. This very likely leads to fewer connections with suburban colleges and communities. Our faculty do not attend suburban churches, go to parent-teacher conferences in suburban schools, do not have conversations with their suburban neighbors, and do not participate in suburban community activities. Laws like this seem to discourage diversity amongst the faculty.

    Chances are, even without a residency requirement, the majority of faculty would still live within the city. A requirement is prohibitive and restricts the diversity that is the lifeblood of any intellectual community.

  4. Here’s my 2 cents. I’ve enjoyed reading Dave’s careful history and the various replies. I’m actually going to use a Reductio ad absurdum argument to refute a residency requirement. Perhaps this was done by the dissenter back in the 70’s but here goes. Logician, mathematicians, magicians and other academics, feel free to tweak and refine this. Here goes.

    Let’s assume we keep the residency requirement. For geographic simplicity, let’s say this applied to HWC only.

    Suppose an arbitrary amount of time elapses with this residency requirement in effect. One day, the powers-that-be do some data analysis on where are students hail from. They’re amazed to see that over 50% of our students do not live in the loop. Therefore, a modified residency requirement is enacted: all HWC faculty must live outside of the loop but still in Chicago since this is representative of our students.

    Suppose another arbitrary amount of time elapses with this residency requirement in effect. One day, the powers-that-be do some data analysis on where are students hail from. They’re amazed to see that over 50% of our students do not live in Chicago. Therefore, a modified residency requirement is enacted: all HWC faculty must live outside of Chicago but still in Illinois since this is representative of our students.

    Suppose yet another arbitrary amount of time elapses with this residency requirement in effect. One day, the powers-that-be do some data analysis on where are students hail from. They’re amazed to see that over 50% of our students do not live in Illinois (distance learning has really taken off) but most live in Wisconsin, Texas, and Indiana. Therefore, a modified residency requirement is enacted: all HWC faculty must live outside of Illinois but still in one of the above mentioned states since this is representative of our students. (You can see where this is going next so I won’t continue.)

    I could have taken this another way. Perhaps we should all live within a 10 block radius of HWC. This, of course, would presuppose that we actually have campus community based upon geographic location. We are a hodgepodge. My living in Lakeview (and upbringing in the New York burbs) differs greatly from my students iiving in Pilsen or North Lawndale. Furthermore, the loop is not representative of these realities either. Of course, expanding to all of CCC brings more of this neighborhood school feel to things but how many students do we have that live closer to one of our sister colleges yet come to HWC.

    Long story short, I don’t plan to leave the city. The burbs would be a death sentence having grown up in them; they’re just not for me or my wife or my future family. Like Dave, I too am a fan of autonomy but at this point I’ve got bigger fish to fry before attempting to start this revolution. I’m actually optimistic that it may change, but know that it has no effect on my future geography, assuming I stay at HWC for the long haul.

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