In Working Session, SIU Trustees Discuss Reorganization and More

Dec 12, 2018

SIU Trustees are mulling their next steps, after hearing updates on reorganization plans, and from consultants studying their makeup and governing structure.

In their work session Wednesday, the board heard from SIUC campus leaders urging them to approve a broad proposal aimed at moving the controversial reorganization plan forward. Opponents also spoke, saying it lacks detail and evidence of effectiveness.

"Are you voting to save money or increase efficiency? Have you seen any credible evidence that this reorganization would do that? Are you voting to increase enrollment? Have you seen any evidence that this plan would do that? Are you voting for synergy? Have you seen evidence for this?" SIU Faculty Association President Dave Johnson questioned the plan. He says it may also violate the union's contract with the university.

Trustees appear split on their opinions of the proposal. Trustee Tom Britton voiced his support - he says it's been a long time coming.
"I think it's time for the Board to allow the campus to consolidate its gains and move forward."

I cannot support approval of something that I have so many questions about. ~Trustee Randal Thomas

About a third of the proposed changes have the support of faculty and staff on campus, a third are still in the planning stage, and a third have been rejected. Trustee Randal Thomas says that leaves him with more questions than answers.
"I cannot support approval of something that I have so many questions about, and see such uncertainty."

Meanwhile, trustees also heard from the Association of Governing Boards and Bryan Cave law firm. Both groups were tasked earlier this year with studying SIU's structure and governance as the university begins a search for a new President.

AGB's analysis finds the board needs to clarify its role in system leadership, and avoid the tendency to micromanage individual campus issues.

In addition, campus leaders gave reports on their plans for tuition and fee rates for next year - with both Carbondale and Edwardsville proposing no increase in tuition. SIUC will also hold the line on fees, while SIUE expects a small increase.