News Local/State

SIU Trustees Oppose Split, Reallocation, and Reorganization Bills


Southern Illinois University

Southern Illinois University Trustees have come out in opposition to a series of bills that would change how the school is structured and governed, but the conflict between campuses isn't over.

At a special meeting in Springfield Wednesday, the Board heard from several people from each campus, with most of them urging members to bring the system back together. Collin Van Meter was one of them.

"The conversations we are having are important, and long overdue. But the way we are choosing to have them is inexcusable, and the lack of empathy from both sides makes a mockery of our institutions and what they stand for."

The most contentious issue remains a funding reallocation request from SIU Edwardsville, based on growth on that campus. Trustee Phil Gilbert says he wants more money for SIUE, but not without data.

"But we need to do it in a measured way, to where it's done in a fair fashion and where there's notice on Carbondale's side if they're going to get less money, that they can adjust to it."

Meanwhile some trustees took issue with accusations they favored one campus or another. Trustee Phil Gilbert says he wants SIU Edwardsville to get more money - but at the same time wants to see more data before a final decision on how to make that happen.

"That is this board's responsibility - is to actually collect the data, to make rational decisions going forward. Anything less is a breach of our fiduciary responsibility, which I believe we take very seriously."

Trustees took no position on a resolution that would have the Illinois Board of Higher Education study the campuses. That item was split three-to-three, with one abstention.