United States Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) along with Illinois State Senator Paul Schimpf (IL-58), State Senator Dale Fowler (IL-59), Representative Terri Bryant (IL-115), Representative Dave Severin (IL-117), and Representative Natalie Phelps-Finnie (IL-118) urged caution regarding a recent proposal to swiftly move more than $5 million in funds from Southern Illinois University’s Carbondale (SIUC) campus and divert the money to the University’s Edwardsville campus.
“The Carbondale campus is currently working through the first steps of a reorganization that has not really been given a chance to start working,” said Bost. “I’m concerned there is a push to make a quick decision to divert funds from Carbondale to Edwardsville by a Board of Trustees that currently has a vacant seat. We’re talking about moving a lot of money out of Carbondale’s economy. I think we should slow down, study this, and at the very least have a fully-slated Board of Trustees before making such a vitally important decision.”
“Although I support evaluating and potentially updating the funding ratio between the two universities, any such change should only occur after a careful study, conducted in a process that has the support of the full board of trustees,” Schimpf said. “The current proposal is scheduled to go before an incomplete Board of Trustees, without the benefit of outside, impartial study, at a time when SIUC is in the midst of a reorganization. I urge the University President and the Chair of the Board of Trustees to rethink their decision to press ahead with this vote.”
“I do not oppose coming together to take a closer look at where funds are currently being allocated and exploring the possibility and consequences of adjusting the funding ratio between SIUC and SIUE. However, I will not support pushing through a funding shift that would have lasting negative consequences on SIUC’s future, the community and the region as a whole,” said Sen. Fowler (R-Harrisburg). “This is a decision that will require careful consideration and demands input from the SIUC community, weighing the impact such a cost shift would have on staffing, future enrollment and the surrounding economy. I encourage the Board to postpone their vote, ensure the community has a voice in this decision and move forward in a cooperative and thoughtful manner.”
“I share my constituents’ concerns that a major diversion of funding from SIUC to the Edwardsville campus will hurt the local and regional economy,” Bryant said. “This move would further downgrade the capabilities of the University to be the world class research facility and economic engine that we need in southern Illinois. The jobs that could be lost due to this funding plan will hurt the Carbondale economy and losing more programs at SIUC will only make the problem of dropping enrollment worse.”
“I have been concerned at the speed with which major step was proposed and brought forward for consideration,” Severin said. “We are urging that the full Board of Trustees be seated before taking any action on any reallocation plans. I am calling on the Board to slow down and study this from every angle. SIU Carbondale is an economic driver for the region and we need to protect it and continue to work to grow enrollment.”
“Southern Illinois University – Carbondale has been the cornerstone of education and research as well as the economic engine for Southern Illinois for many years. Shifting money to the Edwardsville campus is not the best way forward for the SIU system. Southern Illinoisans cherish the Carbondale campus as a part of their lives and as part of the town’s iconic history, and our entire economy is heavily dependent upon its success. We need to find a better way to increase funding and reestablish SIU-C as the educational beacon that attracts our own students, as well as those from across the United States,” said Rep. Natalie Phelps Finnie, D-Elizabethtown.
Each of the legislators is encouraging their constituents to contact them to share their own opinions on this critical issue for southern Illinois.