Dunn, business leaders get behind SIU reorganization effort - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Dunn, business leaders get behind SIU reorganization effort

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CARBONDALE -- Administrators and business leaders in Carbondale rally behind the chancellor's effort to restructure SIU.

SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno's plan aims to streamline the university's programs.

Years of declining enrollment at Southern Illinois University have Carbondale businesses worried for the future.

"I can point to businesses in our community that have suffered because of fewer students in town," Carbondale Chamber of Commerce executive director Les O'Dell said.

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce backs Montemagno's reorganization effort. O'Dell said it's not an endorsement of the plan's specifics, but rather it's an endorsement of the reasons behind it.

"We need to turn the tide right now," O'Dell said. "News stories come out about the decline in sales tax revenue in the communities, we see so many rental units, we see so many houses in our market for sale... We cannot as business owners sit by idly and just watch SIU continue to decline."

SIU system president Randy Dunn has the same concerns.

"There needs to be a change in operations, a different business model if you will for SIU Carbondale going forward," Dunn said. "I think the numbers speak for themselves, whether that's in terms of enrollment loss or the difficulty around financial viability around the campus."

Faculty leaders and students have had mixed reactions to the plan so far and Dunn said now's the time for them to speak out because the plan is still changing. He also said it could be implemented in pieces instead of all at once.

"I think you're going to see some of those (proposals) that are strongly supported and faculty and staff are ready to go, ready to move on those, probably take a pretty fast track as we go over the next three to four months," Dunn said. "In other areas, that may not be the case."

And Dunn applauded Montemagno for facing the university's problems head-on.

Montemagno plans to have a final draft of his plan for the Board of Trustees to consider next month.

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