Students say chancellor’s vision survey doesn’t take their opinions into account


Dylan Nelson

Kennedy Byers, a senior Africana Studies and biological anthropology major, listens to answers from Carlo Montemagno regarding his strawman plan for academic reorganization at the university Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, in the Student Center Auditorium. (Dylan Nelson | @Dylan_Nelson99)

By Cory Ray

Though Chancellor Carlo Montemagno sent out a vision survey to the community during the month of September to get opinions about the direction in which the university should go, some students don’t think their opinions were actually considered by the administration.

Victoria Hammond, a senior from Columbus, Ohio studying geology, said she completed the survey but in light of recent academic reorganization announcements, she does not feel like her views were taken into account.

“I think it was basically him saying, ‘This is what we’re going to do,’ and it was kind of a pacifying way of him saying, ‘We’re going to get student opinions,’” Hammond said.


She said the feedback students gave via the survey wasn’t present in the draft of Montemagno’s plan to get rid of academic departments and move programs into schools.

About 3 percent of the student body took part in a public survey sent to the community regarding Chancellor Carlo Montemagno’s vision for SIU, according to university data.

The questionnaire was designed for students, faculty, alumni and community members to give input that would be used to shape how the university should operate by the year 2025, the survey said.

Total responses were just under 3,000, a number Montemagno has praised in various meetings.

According to documents obtained by the Daily Egyptian through a Freedom of Information Act request, the survey was sent to over 187,000 emails.

Data from the university shows only 465 people who took the survey identified themselves as students.

The survey closed on Sept. 8 after launching in August. In addition to emailing a link, one was also provided on the chancellor’s website.


Montemagno has repeatedly said he has been sifting through the results and many of the responses had good suggestions.

Lauran Schaefer, a communication studies graduate student, said the problem with surveys is the public does not see the input that was given.

Schaefer said she was asked by Montemagno as a representative of the graduate student community to submit ideas for the vision survey, and she said her suggestions did not make the final cut.

Montemagno said the survey was largely constructed by breaking down the mission statement.

Schaefer said she understands the need to map out the university’s future, but she said it is also important to address present issues. 

Other students expressed similar sentiments.

“It’s hard for a student to focus on 2025 when they graduate in 2019, 2017, 2018,” said Jada Kelly, a junior from Chicago studying Africana studies and political science.

Schaefer said she suggested a question regarding student perceptions of the current campus atmosphere, which she said did not make it into the survey.

“It gets to the heart of racism and things like that on campus,” she said.

Montemagno first mentioned the survey when he arrived on campus as a chancellor candidate. He often made it a point of discussion in his public addresses, citing the value of shared governance.

Staff writer Cory Ray can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @coryray_de.

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.