Bill filed to separate SIU's Carbondale, Edwardsville campuses

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - A bill filed in the Illinois legislature would separate Southern Illinois University's Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses.

Sponsored by Representatives Jay Hoffman, Katie Stuart, Monica Bristow and LaToya Greenwood, HB5861 would abolish the Board of Trustees of SIU and establish separate Boards of Trustees, one for the Carbondale campus and one for the Edwardsville campus.

Interim Director for the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Jennifer Olson says she's worried about SIU Carbondale's image with the potential of Edwardsville campus leaving the SIU system.

"There seems to be inner fighting and inner turmoil between the two campuses that just doesn't bode well for stability," said Olson.

As someone who cares about the number of students attending SIUC and spending their money in the city, she doesn't think this kind of news is good for the future of Carbondale.

"Bad press and drama could negatively impact somebody trying to choose us as a university and as their new hometown," said Olson.

President of the Student Graduate and Professional Council, Johnathan Flowers agrees that separating the schools would not bode well for SIU Carbondale. He thinks this could lead to even bigger budget issues than last weeks proposal of reallocating $5 million in state funding to SIUE.

"The state cannot conceivably give Carbondale the full allocation to the SIU system," said Flowers.
"It would have to discern some way of distributing those funds. So that outcome would likely be a reduction in state appropriations to the Carbondale campus"

With so many different outcomes possible from this proposal, Olson says she hopes the school gets on the right track again as soon as possible...

"You know, as somebody with daughters who will be choosing schools, it's hard when you've got question marks at the end of the future of the university," said Olson.

The proposal bill is getting some backlash by other state legislatures.  If it passes, it will take effect July 1 according to the proposal.

Reps. Monica Bristow, D-Godfrey, LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, and Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, have introduced a package of legislation to ensure that SIU Edwardsville receives their fair share of state funding and resources in the future.  They released the following statement:

"Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campuses have proven to be a bright spot in the state public university system, and have moved forward despite the state's budgetary challenges," said Bristow. "With the student populations at Edwardsville and Carbondale now so close in size, the only thing that makes sense is to ensure that both campuses receive equal funding."

You can click here to read the full text of the bill or read it below.

On Tuesday, April 17, the SIU Board of Trustees Chair Amy Sholar and SIU President Randy Dunn issued a joint statement regarding HB5861/HB1292.

You can click here to read the statement or read it below.

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