So What Happens Now? SIU Stalemate Leaves Lingering Questions

Jun 22, 2018

After a split vote on a move to suspend SIU President Randy Dunn, it remains unclear what the future holds for the university's leadership.

Trustee Joel Sambursky says emails and other documents - which are being made public - show Dunn worked to undermine SIU Carbondale while favoring SIU Edwardsville. The tie vote on Dunn's suspension leaves questions about what happens now, and Sambursky says he's not sure.
 
"I think that we just have to regroup as a board, and try to put one foot forward, and again, work to do what's best for the SIU System."

Trustee Phil Gilbert made the motion to suspend Dunn for 120 days, while outside counsel reviewed documents that Gilbert and others say show Dunn worked to support the SIU Edwardsville campus over SIU Carbondale.
 
"So, what do you do with someone who isn't loyal to the SIU System, who doesn't want to be head of the SIU System, and in fact worked tirelessly to dissolve and eliminate it?"
 
Advocates for Dunn say he wasn't working against SIU Carbondale, but rather promoting equity between the two campuses. SIUE Professor Jonathan Pettibone stands by Dunn.
 
"President Dunn is a leader. Sometimes, leaders have to tell people, campuses, and even boards of trustees things they don't want to hear."

Anne Hunter is the incoming President of SIUE's Staff Senate. She says Dunn was advocating for equity - not dissolution.
 
"It wasn't until he point out the obvious - that Carbondale receives a disproportionate share of the system allocation, and that many refuse to accept that fact, that members of this board made moves to punish him. Instead of taking actions that would improve the health of the system, the focus has been on pointing fingers to deflect from the fact that the system no longer benefits all parties in it."

SIUC Psychology Professor Kathie Chwalisz disagrees. She says Dunn must go.

“At this time, is difficult - if not impossible - for the Carbondale campus and community to trust Dr. Dunn and his leadership. He cannot effectively lead at least half of the SIU system.”

Chwalisz says Dunn's focus has not been on the system as a whole, and that cannot continue.

“Our colleagues at SIUE are doing great things and they deserve a champion. However, SIU Carbondale has also been doing great things, yet has had the exact opposite experience, with this president purposefully undermining us for the past year or more.”

Neither Dunn nor Board Chair Amy Sholar were available for comment after the meeting. The next scheduled meeting is in September.