SIU board rejects $5.1 million funding shift - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

SIU board rejects $5.1 million funding shift

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CARBONDALE -- A plan to shift some state funding from SIU Carbondale to SIU Edwardsville has been scrapped, at least for now.

The board of trustees rejected the plan to shift $5.1 million from SIUC to SIUE next year by a narrow 4-3 vote. One member, Randal Thomas, abstained because he didn't attend some of the discussions on the proposal.

The SIU governing board is designed to represent the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses equally, and members with ties to Carbondale weren't happy about how a proposal to shift money to Edwarsdville came about.

"I don't like being blindsided 10 days ago with absolutely no warning, no context to a huge agenda item that carries significant consequences," trustee Joel Sambursky said.

Trustee Marsha Ryan said the plan came as a surprise to her as well.

"With the president having put this on the agenda in this matter, (he) has acted to divide two campuses that should not be divided," Ryan said.

And while several members of the SIU community voiced opposition to the deal, people from Edwardsville have been waiting a long time for it.

Jeffrey Sabby, an associate professor in the SIUE Department of Physics, said funding levels haven't been where they should be, a 60-40 split favoring Carbondale, for nearly five decades.

"So if not now, when?" Sabby asked board members Thursday.

SIUE student government president Ramon DeShazer said SIUE faces many of the same financial problems as its sister school.

"SIUE has to limit many innovative and student-centered ideas due to funding challenges."

The Carbondale board members all said they're willing to look at the issue again, but only after they study it more.

SIU system president Randy Dunn said he'll hire a consultant to look at it.

"I think the idea here is to get this going as quickly as possible," Dunn said.

Dunn said the board will likely revisit the funding shift idea in nine months to a year, however long it takes the consultant to finish their report.

But the goal remains the same: to fund SIUE at a level closer to how the state originally planned it.

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