Dunn orders investigations into chancellor's hiring conduct - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Dunn orders investigations into chancellor's hiring conduct

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CARBONDALE -- Two investigations are underway involving SIU.

The state's inspector general is looking into the hiring of two of Chancellor Carlo Montemagno's family members and SIU is investigating whether he meddled in the hirings of multiple faculty members.

The Daily Egyptian, SIU's student newspaper, reported this week about allegations of nepotism involving the chancellor.

SIU system president Randy Dunn acknowledged Friday that he agreed to hire two of Montemagno's family members, an agreement not reflected in the chancellor's contract, but he wasn't aware of the way they were hired or reports of improper influence on faculty hires until recently.

"It is a gut punch, there's no way to deny that," Dunn said. "But you deal with it."

After reports of potentially unethical conduct by Montemagno, Dunn said it's important to investigate whether the claims are true.

Those reports accuse Montemagno of influencing the people in charge of hiring faculty, trying to get jobs for people close to the chancellor.

"I was not aware of the nature of how those faculty searches were unfolding," Dunn said.

In regards to the hiring of Montemagno's daughter and son-in-law, Dunn admitted he agreed to Montemagno's request.

"While it's a very unusual request, it was something that, in at least a broad reading of the law, could move forward," Dunn said.

The news doesn't sit well with members of the SIU community.

"Unfortunately, we hear all that time that it's not what you know but who you know," said SIU civil service employee Karen Kaufman. "This is exactly the kind of situation that confirms that sort of a fear for people who have been trying to follow the system."

Dunn said he doesn't want to rush to judgment on Montemagno and he believes the university did nothing wrong.

He hopes the two investigations will help clear the university.

"What I want to happen is have all the questions that answered that exist," Dunn said.

Dunn said he has no timetable for either investigation to wrap up.

Dave Johnson, president of the SIUC Faculty Association, said Montemagno deserves every chance to have his name cleared, but he has to work to regain the trust of faculty, staff and students.

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