Metro-East News

SIU board will not support legislation that would split campuses or split funding

SIU trustees get blasted by both campuses

Southern Illinois University trustees hear from Edwardsville and Carbondale students and faculty about fair financing and splitting the two campuses.
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Southern Illinois University trustees hear from Edwardsville and Carbondale students and faculty about fair financing and splitting the two campuses.

The Southern Illinois University board will not support the current legislative efforts to split the university into two campuses, or to change what some call a funding inequity between Carbondale and Edwardsville to a 50-50 split.

The board of trustees met in a special meeting Wednesday to address the myriad of solutions proposed in the state legislature to the current 64-36 percent split of funding between Carbondale and Edwardsville in the SIU system. Edwardsville representatives have argued that the student population is nearly equal after years of enrollment decline in Carbondale and growth in Edwardsville, while the funding has remained largely with Carbondale.

A proposal in April to shift approximately $5.1 million from Carbondale to Edwardsville, creating a 60-40 split, was voted down 4-3 by the board of trustees. Shortly thereafter, several state legislators have proposed a variety of solutions.

One bill would require a 50-50 split in state funding between the campuses; one requires dissolving the board and reconstituting it with an equal split among Edwardsville and Carbondale representatives; and one requires dissolving the system entirely and creates separate boards for each campus, aligning the dental and medical schools with Edwardsville. The medical school has historically been tied to the Carbondale campus.

The board voted Wednesday to oppose the 50-50 split in funding, the dissolution of the system and splitting the campuses; and reconstituting the current board for equal representation.

By April 13, 2018, state representatives with ties to the metro-east had filed a three-bill package related to the Southern Illinois University system. Here are the events that led up to the proposals in Springfield.

The board voted not to oppose or support another initiative from state Rep. Katie Stuart, a former SIUE professor, that calls for an independent study conducted by the Illinois Board of Higher Education to determine the fairest funding. The board had already requested a study, but one it would conduct in-house, which Stuart opposed.

At midday, the board of trustees went into executive session to discuss personnel issues. While it was not announced what issues would be discussed, SIU President Randy Dunn has been under fire in recent weeks after an email was made public in which he referred to "bitchers from Carbondale." Two state lawmakers called for Dunn's resignation.

Dunn apologized and said he wouldn't be stepping down.

State Rep. Terri Bryant, who says she's a "loud, proud bitcher," calls on SIU President Randy Dunn to resign after emails critical of the SIUC campus were brought to light.

BND reporter Lexi Cortes contributed to this report.
Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald
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