Bill to separate SIU Carbondale, Edwardsville campuses worries faculty

CARBONDALE, IL — A bill introduced in the Illinois legislature would separate Southern Illinois University’s Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses.

The measure comes after the SIU Board of Trustees voted last week to not shift $5.1 million in state appropriated funds from Carbondale to Edwardsville.

This isn’t the first time a bill to split up the two campuses has been introduced, but SIUC Faculty Association President Dave Johnson said this time is different.

“I think that we have seen in the last year at least two major decisions that have rubbed the people in Edwardsville the wrong way. I fear the bill will have more support in the metro east region this time around,” said Johnson.

After several SIUE faculty spoke about their campus’ funding needs during the board of trustees meeting, Johnson said he understands the frustration on both sides.

“I think the people in Edwardsville feel they have not gotten a fair shake, and they have been treated like second class. I think the people in Carbondale are feeling kind of envious, because they have increased enrollment and their campus is growing,” said Johnson.

But, he said he believes it is in the best interest of Carbondale to make sure the system is maintained.

“I think it’s good for SIUC. My hope is that leaders on both campuses and members of the board of trustees will find a way to work together for the advantages that it brings,” said Johnson.

A statement released to us by SIUC Chancellor Carlo Montemagno reads:

“There are incredible strengths to being part of a system. Together we serve more than 28,000 students, which gives us a greater footprint to serve the southern part of Illinois and adds to the power of our voice in Springfield. A number of complex factors must be studied carefully before we can determine whether a separation of the system is in the best interests of either campus.”

SIU Edwardsville Chancellor Randy Pembrook had this to say on the issue:

“SIUE seeks allocation fairness in light of basically equal enrollments.  Whether that comes from a consultant’s internal study commissioned by the SIU Board of Trustees or through legislation addressing the inequity, we believe the time has come to revisit the funding formula.”

If the bill passes, it would take effect July 1.

The measure is House Bill 5860.

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