SIU operations to continue through fall if no budget is settled by July 1

By Marissa Novel, @MarissaNovelDE

The university will not close, though Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed the budget for fiscal year 2016.

President Randy Dunn sent an email Monday stating that all university operations will remain open if a state budget cannot be settled by July 1.

“We have identified sufficient cash resources to keep us operating well into the fall semester,” Dunn said.

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But, Dunn said he cannot say the same for those who are employed on state-funded grants, projects or contracts. 

“Numerous of our colleagues have been, or yet may be, impacted by the suspension of those state-funded grant programs by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget,” he said. “It hurts me to watch the wind-down of some of those programs now, impacting people, including those served by the projects, who are just as much as part of the SIU family as any other employee.”

The email follows Rauner’s Thursday veto of the budget for fiscal year 2016, which he said was unconstitutional because it is about $4 billion out of balance.

“A balanced budget is not just good practice, it is a constitutional requirement…Although the General Assembly has chosen to disregard its constitutional obligation, as Governor I cannot approve a budget that violates this fundamental principle,” he said.

Rauner vetoed the entire budget excluding a public education funding package which put forward an additional $269 million for elementary and secondary education funding.

Earlier this month, the governor’s staff asked university officials to have plans readied if a 20 percent cut in state support were to happen.

Dunn said the Carbondale campus finished budget reviews last week, and SIU-E Chancellor Furst-Bowe and SIU School of Medicine Dean Dorsey have planned with their staffs and constituency groups to address what cuts may come once a budget is decided.

“Such a cut would be absolutely devastating to SIU, but the campuses have those plans drafted if that nuclear option is exercised,” he said.

Dunn said the university will remain focused on making its importance known.

“And while we stand ready to partner in resolving the state’s fiscal issues, it can’t be done on the back of SIU specifically … or Illinois higher education generally.”

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