SIU Board of Trustees talk housing, diversity at nature retreat

SIU+President+Randy+Dunn+presents+past+long-term+plans+during+a+special+SIU+Board+of+Trustees+meeting+on+Thursday%2C+Aug.+25%2C+2016%2C+at+Touch+of+Nature+Environmental+Center+in+Makanda.+%28Ryan+Michalesko+%7C+%40photosbylesko%29
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SIU Board of Trustees talk housing, diversity at nature retreat

SIU President Randy Dunn presents past long-term plans during a special SIU Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, at Touch of Nature Environmental Center in Makanda. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

SIU President Randy Dunn presents past long-term plans during a special SIU Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, at Touch of Nature Environmental Center in Makanda. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

SIU President Randy Dunn presents past long-term plans during a special SIU Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, at Touch of Nature Environmental Center in Makanda. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

SIU President Randy Dunn presents past long-term plans during a special SIU Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, at Touch of Nature Environmental Center in Makanda. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

By Staff report

The SIU Board of Trustees took to the woods for its first meeting of the 2016-2017 school year.

The board gathered for a retreat and special meeting Thursday and Friday at SIU’s Touch of Nature, where they hosted an open discussion on a number of items including diversity, risk management and housing.

SIUC student trustee Naomi Tolbert said if SIU wants to compete with other schools, nicer housing should be made available.

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“It’s a big hurdle right now in enrollment in the Carbondale campus,” SIU President Randy Dunn said in agreement, but the discussion didn’t reach a conclusion on what should be done next.

There was also talk of filling the vacancy left by Linda McCabe Smith, SIU’s previous associate chancellor for institutional diversity who stepped down in June.

Dunn informally proposed the creation and hiring of a campus chief diversity officer to take her place.

Because of the nature of the retreat and special meeting, no voting took place — only discussion.

The next Board of Trustees meeting is on Sept. 8 at the Edwardsville campus.

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