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Committee to find next head of Southern Illinois University

A 27-person committee has been formed to find the next president of Southern Illinois University.

SIU has been without a president since Randy Dunn resigned in July after he came under fire for a proposed shift of funding between the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses.

An executive search firm, Witt/Kieffer, will be paid $100,000 to $150,000 help advertise the job.

Meanwhile, another independent group, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, is studying how much state money the university system should give to SIUC and to SIUE.

Officials agreed to pay an estimated $97,000 for the study after months of debate over funding. Some argued SIUE should get a larger share because its enrollment is growing while SIUC’s has declined. Others said taking money away from SIUC would be harmful to the region’s economy and to the college’s programs.

Before his resignation, Dunn had advocated for a discussion about the way money is allocated.

“If SIU is going to be a system, it needs to have a leader who thinks and acts in the best interest of the system and is willing to lead us in discussions on issues that are of importance to each campus — even if one part of the system doesn’t agree,” he wrote in a statement last year.

SIU Board of Trustees chairman J. Phil Gilbert says he doesn’t expect the search for a new president will be easy, nor will the committee find the perfect person. However, Gilbert says the search committee will get as close to perfection as possible.

Gilbert says the goal is to have a list of 10 to 12 candidates by September and to have a new president by the end of the year.

In a related development, new state legislation would give the students who sit on the SIU Board of Trustees voting power. The bill was introduced by state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, who used to work as an SIUE professor.

As of Monday, the bill had passed in both the House and Senate but had not been sent to the governor.

BND reporter Lexi Cortes contributed to this report.

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