The public is invited to attend a community conversation on the future of SIU-Carbondale.
Dwindling state funds and falling enrollments have led the university and the community at large to look for answers.
The Shawnee Green Party is hosting the conversation. Party chair Rich Whitney says Chancellor Carlo Montemagno's reorganization plan sparked the event, but he wants the discussion to go beyond it.
"Some of the groups that are already organizing will have an opportunity to maybe attract others to their cause and maybe get behind a particular plan or two. There will be an opportunity for the administration to hear that message."
Whitney says the tension between the SIU faculty and the administration over the chancellor's plan is concerning. But, he says disagreements must be verbalized to find a resolution.
"Criticism is not only a bad thing. Criticism is how we improve as long as it is constructive. So, we want to try to make sure that is constructive."
Whitney says this is an important discussion because not only is SIU an economic engine for the region, but it's a world renowned institution of higher learning.
"We want to make sure in these very challenging fiscal times, that we hear all of the ideas about how to meet that challenge and hopefully get to a place where SIU is thriving again."
Whitney says the conversation will feature SIU educators and the business community. He says there will also be time for the public to comment.
"Especially the people who have lived here for years and seen changes at the university. They may also have some good ideas about what worked in the past and what might work better in the future."
The community conversation on SIU's future is Tuesday, Jan. 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Varsity Center for the Arts in Carbondale. Everyone is invited.