Students hope to become next representative on board

By Luke Nozicka, @lukenozicka | Sam Beard

The next Carbondale student representative on the SIU Board of Trustees will be elected later this week. Voting for the position, currently held by Adrian Miller, begins at 6 a.m. Tuesday and ends at 5 p.m. Wednesday on Desire2Learn. Three students are running for the position and below is more information on each candidate. 

Allen C. Shelton

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Allen C. Shelton, a junior from Chicago Heights studying communication studies, said if elected Carbondale’s next student trustee, he will represent students with positivity and progression.

Shelton, vice president of SIU’s Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, said as student trustee, he will hold open forum discussions with students at least twice a month to better understand their issues and needs.

“Students complain or want things to happen on campus and they don’t know how to get to that, have that outlet,” he said. “I’m going to be that outlet.” 

Shelton, who looks up to President Barack Obama, said he will meet with organizations — such as Africana Studies, the Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Resource Center and the Undergraduate Student Government — to be their voice on the board.

“If we get everyone together… we can really hash out some things,” he said. “I don’t want to be focused on these types of students or these types, I want it to be a unified voice.”

With the uncertainty of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget, which would slash 32 percent of state funding to higher education, Shelton said his job as student trustee will be to make sure essential programs do not get cut. 

In regards to President Randy Dunn’s 6 percent tuition increase recommendation, Shelton said a tuition increase is not good, but it is something students may have to deal with.


“College is already hard enough to afford,” he said. “All I can do as a trustee, is to make sure that tuition increase is being reciprocated positively on the other side. If you’re going to increase tuition, let me get more resources for students.”

Shelton, who was a resident assistant from August 2013 to May 2014 for Schneider Hall’s Black Male Initiative floor, said he is familiar with being a leader. He said he hopes to help get the student trustee vote appointed.

“Decisions were being made… and the students had no input,” he said. “Yeah the trustee was there to do the best he could, but at the end of the day, there was no vote. If you don’t have a vote, you don’t have a voice.” 

As comedy director for the Student Programming Council, Shelton said he is used to and enjoys organizing events for students. 

“A couple Wednesdays ago, we had a comedy show in the ballrooms, and 900 students were there,” he said. “The best part about that was the next day, when I was walking to Morris Library, and hearing students… talking, ‘Man, did you go to the comedy show last night? That was a great time. I needed that laugh.'”

Tariq Collins

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Tariq Collins, a junior from Munster, Ind., studying philosophy, wants students to vote for him as the next student trustee because he plans to increase inclusivity on campus.

Collins said with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget cuts to public universities, students need to unite and let their voices be heard. 

“The budget cuts are something that need to be dealt with,” he said. “We should come together as a student body and try to fight this.”

He said for the university to operate the way students would like, they need to be involved with campus politics.

Collins preached togetherness for all SIU students.

“We are the future whether we understand it or not,” he said. “We have to hold each other accountable. I feel that students should be involved more in their education.”

Collins, who was an East campus senator for Undergraduate Student Government, said he will try to improve retention by getting more students involved in a positive manner. He spoke of a “Saluki culture,” where students are motivated in changing the campus.

The Internal Affairs Committee, Saluki Peer Mentors and Center of English as a Second Language are just a few organizations Collins is involved with.

Collins, who also served on the executive board for the Student Leadership Committee, said he does not agree with President Randy Dunn’s 6 percent tuition increase recommendation. 

“I don’t think it is a good idea,” he said. “It will hurt the university — I don’t know how much — but it will.”

Along with working together with the administration to push for a student trustee vote, Collins said pressure from the student body goes a long way in getting things done. He said it is unfair all students in the SIU system are not represented by a vote on the board every year.

“If we have to go to Springfield every two weeks, so be it,” Collins said.

As far as campaigning for the position, Collin has just been trying to make his name and face known. 

“I’ve been passing out flyers to students, making sure that I show may face more at more events, reaching out to all of the other organizations,” he said. “It’s not just about putting on a smile, it’s about being straight-forward with people.”

Jim Tobin

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Jim Tobin, a senior from Farmer City studying agricultural systems and political science, said he should be elected SIU student trustee because of his familiarity with public policy and administration.

“My experiences and my time here on campus, coupled with my background in political science and the government side of things, make me a really good candidate,” said Tobin, who is a Chancellor’s Scholar and served as president of the Collegiate Future Famers of America chapter on campus.

While leading the Registered Student Organization, Tobin’s staff doubled student involvement in the program in a year and half.

As an employee in the dean of agriculture’s office, Tobin said he has learned how changes are made on campus.

He said President Randy Dunn’s recommendation of a 6 percent tuition increase may not be popular, but it is necessary to avoid losing numerous programs on campus as a result of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget cuts.

“Whether it’s a tuition increase or a tax increase for Springfield, you’re always going to upset one group,” Tobin said. “You have to work with the realities of running an institution that has such a severe financial problem depending on what the state legislature hands us.”

Another issue Tobin has on his radar is the lack of vote appointment for student trustees. The vote has not yet been appointed by the governor. He hopes the state legislature will give both the Carbondale and SIU-Edwardsville student trustees a vote.

Tobin said he is not campaigning for student participation, not for himself, but to get more people involved in student government and administrative affairs. 

During the special trustee election in August, just 5 percent of students voted. Tobin said his main campaign goal is to change that.

“Doesn’t matter who gets elected in that situation,” he said. “When only 5 percent votes, democracy doesn’t work.”

To improve this, he wants to start a coalition of Greek leaders, popular RSO leaders and various student groups to reach all students. 

“[Uninvolved students] are not sitting on the sidelines because they choose too,” he said. “Student leaders are going to have to pick up the ball more than they’ve ever had to do in the past. … We need to go out there and grab students’ hands and pull them right along with us.”