SIU President Randy Dunn recently reached out to SIUE, SIUC and the system’s School of Medicine to draft plans to counter the expected higher education budget cuts introduced by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Interim Chancellor Stephen Hansen explained Dunn’s intent to approach the Illinois Senate Appropriations Committee to give the state’s government an idea of how universities will be forced to move forward if the state does not pass a budget for thisfiscal year.
“President Dunn called together Carbondale’s School of Medicine and SIUE to discuss, from a system perspective, what would happen if there was no state budget,” Hansen said. “The idea behind it is that President Dunn will be testifying in front of the Illinois Senate Appropriations Committee meeting on March 10. [Dunn] wanted to be able to explain to the senators the impact of the steps each university would go through as we make cuts and reductions.”
Dunn has asked the SIU system to devise a plan for how the individual schools would function using just half of the funds given to them by the state in fiscal year 2015 — approximately $29 million of the $58 million given to the system.
“I have begun working with the University Planning and Budget Council — the official governing body that advises the chancellor on budgetary matters. My position, and that of the [University Planning and Budget Council], is that we will protect our core function of undergraduate education,” Hansen said.
Hansen said even though Illinois public universities could face a severe loss of funding, SIUE will remain “fiscally sound” through the 2016-2017 school year.
“If this worst-case scenario occurred, there will be dramatic cuts to SIUE, but rest assured, we will be offering a full complement of courses in the fall and throughout the next, full academic year,” Hansen said.