Brief: Board of Trustees vote to oppose SIU system split, take no position on IBHE funding study

The SIU System Board of Trustees discuss potential legislation that may effect SIUE and SIUC Wednesday, May 30, at a special Board of Trustees meeting in Springfield.

The Board of Trustees has voted unanimously, with two abstentions, to oppose Metro-East lawmaker Rep. Jay Hoffman’s bill that would dissolve the SIU System during a special meeting Wednesday morning.

The bill, HR 1292, still has the potential to draw a vote from the General Assembly, as the bill’s deadline was extended to Thursday.

If passed, the bill would split SIUE and SIUC into separate universities, each with their own board of trustees. SIUC would retain the School of Law, while SIUE would keep the School of Pharmacy, School of Dental Medicine and the East St. Louis Center. The SIU School of Medicine would transfer control from SIUC to SIUE as well.

Board Chair Amy Scholar and SIUE Student Trustee Luke Jansen were the only two abstentions from the board. All other members voted in favor of opposing the legislation.

The BOT also voted on whether or not they should publicly support a House resolution (HR 1051) that would ask the Illinois Board of Higher Education to study whether or not SIUE and SIUC would be better off as separate universities.

The resolution was proposed by former SIUE instructor Rep. Katie Stuart.

The board refrained from taking a vote over a neutral resolution but failed to pass a resolution in support or opposition of the House resolution. Each vote had three in favor and three against, with Board Secretary Joel Sambursky abstaining from both votes.

Board Member Marsha Ryan voted to oppose the resolution and expressed concern about what the IBHE would do with the data once they received it.

The board also took votes on HB 1293, which would dissolve and reinstate the Board of Trustees with new guidelines and members, as well as HB 1294, which would mandate that for every $1 Carbondale is allocated from the overall state allocation, $1 go to Edwardsville as well.

If HB 1293 passes, it would require that the new board, consisting of seven regular members and two student-elected members with voting rights, include three people with undergraduate or graduate degrees from Edwardsville, three with degrees from Carbondale and one with no degree from either.

It would also grant voting rights to both student trustees — currently only one of them gets to vote each year, at the governor’s discretion.

The board opposed this motion 5-2, with Sholar and Jansen voting in favor of it.

The reallocation bill garnered little discussion and was shot down with a 6-0-1 vote, with Sholar abstaining.

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