Board of Trustees approves new system president, future funding allocation

Daniel Mahony, the next SIU System President speaking to the press at SIUE on Dec. 6. Mahony will take office March 1, 2020.

The SIU Board of Trustees selected a new system president, approved a change in state funding allocation and selected a new provost for SIUC at last week’s meeting in Carbondale.

Daniel F. Mahony was unanimously voted in as the next SIU System president, and will take office on March 20. ahony is currently the president of Winthrop University in South Carolina, and was selected after a nationwide search. Before that, Mahony was the dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State University.

Mahony will be paid a salary of $435,000, and his contract will extend until Feb. 29, 2020.

Chancellor Randy Pembrook said he’s met with Mahony a few times, and that his previous experience would benefit the university.

“I particularly like the fact that he has experience in strategic planning, [and] has through a lot about enrollment issues,” Pembrook said. “I think those are two key elements that will serve him well, and will be good for the system under his leadership.”

The board also approved a 50/50 split in increased funds from the state between Carbondale and Edwardsville until Fiscal Year 2022. The new split only applies to an increase in funding, and will not affect the previously allocated funds.

During the July board meeting, the BOT approved the first 50/50 split between the two universities for the current year. The split doesn’t include funding for the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield and the SIU System office, both of which will continue to be funded at their historical rates. That leaves 79.8 percent of the funding total increase in funding for the two universities.

“The decision they made to do 50/50 for three years, for new money, aligns pretty well with the distribution that is indicated by the formula,” Pembrook said.

SIUE Student Trustee Mackenzie Rogers was one of two board members who voted against the allocation split. She said her vote wasn’t based on the funding numbers, but rather that she wanted to see a permanent allocation put in place before FY22.

“While I do understand [the board] wanted the new president and [SIUC’s next] chancellor to be involved with the study to see how it goes … I just specifically did not think that the people of Edwardsville [and] Carbondale, I didn’t know how they would feel about [the timeline], so I voted the way I did because of that,” Rogers said.

That new split doesn’t change the traditional funding model, which gave SIUC around 64 percent of state funding dollars and SIUE 36 percent. It only applies to increases in money the system receives from the state. In the July meeting, the board said those historic numbers “should not be re-litigated.”

However, Pembrook said he thinks those funding values are not set in stone.

“The second part of it — the base — that’s an interesting ongoing conversation,” Pembrook said. “I think that what people heard on Wednesday afternoon, was that that needs to be a continuing conversation. That [is] something that people are anticipating that the president will be interested in looking at, and will investigate.”

The board also approved Meera Komarraju as the new provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs for SIUC at the meeting.  Komarraju was the sole applicant for the position.

SIUC is currently debating on whether the university should restructure and consolidate their schools to cut costs, a plan which some speakers at the meeting had an issue with.

SIUC Student Trustee Brione Lockett said students at Carbondale are very opposed to the reorganization.

“The same people who are opposed to the reorganization are students. The people that have spoken that are opposed to the appointment of the interim chancellor, are students,” Lockett said. “That’s why there’s declining retention, declining recruitment [and] declining enrollment [at SIUC].”

Per the board’s bylaws, only one student senator is allowed to vote per year, so Lockett was unable to vote on the issue. As of January, both student senators will get a vote.

The next BOT meeting is scheduled for Feb. 13, 2020 on SIUE’s campus. Those wishing to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting can contact Executive Secretary of the Board Misty Whittington at 618-536-3357 or via email at mistyw@siu.edu.

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