Interim SIUC Chancellor Brad Colwell says the university will likely see a dip in on-campus enrollment this fall - and he blames the state budget impasse along with negative perceptions for the decline.
Colwell says despite recent headlines, the campus is safe. He says the university is addressing allegations of racism, as well as other issues.
"We've got to be sure that we've got a campus where people feel safe. It's a tough perception that we're battling right now, but we're going to continue to fight."
Colwell says out-of-state schools are taking advantage of Illinois' nearly year-long budget stalemate - recruiting students from Illinois who are worried about their future.
"They can offer enough scholarship dollars that it can typically off-set that out-of-state tuition, and make it fairly attractive to our students. Unfortunately, given our budget situation, students are probably - understandably - considering at all options."
Colwell says SIU is working to bring up its enrollment numbers - both through scholarships and tuition help and by addressing campus issues. He says it'll take a long-term fix, but he believes it will happen.