A state lawmaker from Cook County is planning trips to Edwardsville and Carbondale to hear from people about the future of the Southern Illinois University system.
State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, said in a news release that he is bringing a legislative panel to Southern Illinois to get feedback on the challenges and possible solutions for SIU.
Welch is the chairman of the Illinois House Higher Education Committee.
He will be at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville at 10 a.m. Aug. 21. His visit to Carbondale’s campus is scheduled for 1 p.m. Aug. 20.
Former SIU President Randy Dunn and the SIU board of trustees mutually agreed to part ways in July.
J. Kevin Dorsey, a former dean of the SIU School of Medicine, was appointed to temporarily replace Dunn.
Calls to split the university system started after trustees rejected a proposal to send about $5.1 million of Carbondale’s state funding to Edwardsville back in April.
Supporters of the proposal said SIUE should have more money because its enrollment is nearly the same as SIUC’s. Opponents argued that shifting money away from SIUC would harm the local and regional economies, as well as the Carbondale campus.
“The turmoil seen at SIU these last few months is unfortunate, and it only further underscores the need for us to meet with everyone involved and think very carefully about the best path forward — not only for the SIU community, but for all of higher education in Illinois,” Welch stated in the release.
“I am looking forward to two days of hearings on the pros and cons of various proposals that will undoubtedly help us understand the challenges at SIU better and determine the best ways we can help.”