SIU President gives live statement following publication in local paper

(KFVS/AP) - Southern Illinois University President Randy Dunn gave a live statement on May 18 following a recent publication in a local paper.

Watch the full press conference below.

Dunn said in the conference he was not planning to resign. He started the conference off acknowledging and apologizing saying, "And for the record, to apologize for the in-artful language in a private email that was shared in the FOIA request…not something certainly that I take pride in or provide an excuse for."

The SIU Alumni Association National Board of Directors is urging the leaders and board of trustees to move forward as a complete system.

The board is speaking out in light of the controversy related to the $5 million shift in funding SIUC and SIUE campuses.

The Associated Press reports Carbondale professor Kathleen Chwalisz said in a Thursday column that documents obtained through public records requests show SIU President Randy Dunn hid the proposed transfer from Carbondale officials. Dunn said in an internal email that he used certain funding distribution figures "simply to shut up" those against the reallocation.

The SIU Board of Trustees last month rejected the proposal made in response to projected campus enrollments.

Dunn said he never withheld details and that Chwalisz's statements are "misleading and ... grossly misrepresenting the situation." He said his wording in the email containing an expletive was a "mistake."

On Thursday, Dunn addressed the article.

"I want to take this opportunity to respond to the Guest View written by Dr. Kathleen Chwalisz recently published in The Southern Illinoisan which I find to be both misleading and frankly intentionally and grossly misrepresenting the situation.

He went on to say there was never any concealment from anyone on the Carbondale campus regarding the Board agenda.

"I have acknowledged there is now written policy directive designating a Carbondale/Edwardsville 60/40 split, but have indicated that it has been an aspirational goal," he continued. "The point of the matter is that if you look at the historical funding allocation between the two campuses - which when comparing SIU Carbondale and the School of Medicine to SIUE, is actually 70/30 - and look at where those campuses are now in their operations, a huge disparity exists."

He said it is past time for a discussion on what is an equitable funding allocation.

Students around campus share their thoughts. Kalyee Fafoglia, Junior at SIUC says,"It's such a poor reflection of SIU". Former SIUE Student Aaron Hancock says, "I obviously thought the language was pretty inappropriate for somebody, one of our school officials, to be using…but some of the content of it is kind of important just saying that Edwardsville needs more of the money."

Hancock, now at SIU Medicine, sees both sides. "I would hope that Carbondale would become more of a prominent university like it has been in the past but I also don't want to see Edwardsville get slighted because Carbondale is not bring in the resources it used to"

An issue of President Dunn picking "sides" also came up in the conference as well. President Dunn says, "We've got to get passed this issue of sides. If we are going to have a system that treats equal members equally, that advances the causes of the mission of the system, then we have to move past that…So obviously there has to be a healing that comes from this, there has to be time to get the parties to come together and figure out how to move forward in a productive way."

Fafoglia concludes, "Honestly, I hope that we get a better administration…I hope we get people that are more devoted and think more about the students needs and I hope that even if we don't get a new admin we hopefully we can get our current admin more on our side and working with us instead of against us."

"One campus is thriving and one is not," he said. "Why not advance the discussion, not the decision, but the discussion, as was done, of making an initial reallocation to the Edwardsville campus to acknowledge their success."

You can read Dunn's full response below.

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Rep. Natalie Phelps Finnie called for the resignation of SIU President Randy Dunn on Friday.

"I find President Dunn's comments in which he shows his disregard for the opinions and thoughts of the SIU-C community to be appalling. They show a lack of respect and professionalism that is not fitting for the leader of a world-class institution like SIU. I believe that President Dunn can no longer adequately perform his job with the full trust of the SIU-C community, and I am calling on him to resign his position as President of SIU so we can continue good faith discussions about SIU's future in both Edwardsville and Carbondale.

On Thursday, Illinois State Rep. Terri Bryant also called for his resignation. She made the remarks from the House floor.

She said an editorial in a local paper showed Dunn was not the answer for the Carbondale campus and "colluding with officials at SIU Edwardsville to work against it."

"For the health of the University system, to preserve the future of SIU Carbondale, and because of his obvious and blatant disdain for my constituents and for the SIU Carbondale campus, President Dunn should resign from his position and he should resign immediately," said Bryant.

According to the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees, a special meeting was called by the Chair, starting on May 30 at 10 a.m., in the auditorium of the SIU School of Medicine.

Following, there may be a possible meeting location change to the Pearson Museum for an executive session.

For the executive session meeting, the Board said it is expected that a motion will be made to close the meeting to the public for the purpose of considering pending, probable or imminent court proceedings against or on behalf of the Board; and "appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific employees."

The Board said no final action will be taken in closed executive session.

Copyright 2018 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press also contributed to this story.