Carbondale’s gift to SIUC

By Gus Bode

The proposed tax increase and gift to Saluki Way is Carbondale business as usual. Increase taxes and cause the everyday person to foot the bill for the boondoggle known as Saluki Way. Once again Carbondale may be a first. I am unaware of this ever happening in Illinois before. Is it the duty of Carbondale to help finance Saluki Way?

Is anyone aware of any studies that show how much Carbondale businesses will be gaining from the extra thousands of people who will be going to the football games? Do the city council and Mayor Cole really expect an extra million dollars a year in tax revenue or for businesses?

Perhaps those who claim that winning sports teams will increase attendance at SIUC can explain the continuing decline in enrollment despite consistently excellent men’s basketball teams, women’s softball teams, world class track athletes?


Saluki Way is only supported by the administration and the fanatics that support anything for SIUC. Considering the financial problems SIUC is having (Morris Library, buildings like Faner Hall that need to be fixed, and discussions about having to cut GA salaries to name a few) why do people think they need a new football stadium. A new football stadium and refurbishing the arena should be low priorities until SIUC takes care of more pressing financial matters.

The scary thing about this “gift” to SIUC is where does it stop? Once Carbondale decides they have to aid SIUC in Saluki Way, will we be seeing more tax increases and more gifts to bail SIUC? Perhaps some cash to help SIUC repair its decrepit buildings or money to give faculty members and the civil service workers raises? The door will be open once this bill passes.

SIUC is acting like an undisciplined person. The type of person who is experiencing financial difficulties, but decides to go out and buy a new auto they cannot afford even though the old car still ran. If SIUC wants to increase enrollment the solution is simple, put out a better product. Taking a $20,000,000 gift from Carbondale will not improve the educational product of SIUC.

Before SIUC got their gift from Carbondale, according to a DE story, less than $700,000 of the “private sector” $38,000,000 had been raised. This would suggest a private sector repudiation of Saluki Way. The amount raised is less than 2 percent of the total private sector money.

President Poshard and Mayor Cole are acting like this is a done deal. I hope the city council wakes up and votes down the tax increase or at least at a minimum votes to reject the idea of Carbondale giving a gift of $20,000,000 to SIU.

Hugh Williams is a 2002 SIUC alumnus.