Daily Egyptian

GPSC discusses anticipated low enrollment, administration ‘sidestepping’ Article IX process

By Amelia Blakely, Campus Editor

At its regularly scheduled Graduate and Professional Student Council meeting Tuesday, President Johnathan Flowers announced the anticipation of low enrollment for next fall semester.

“The chancellor is anticipating 870 to 970 new freshmen,” Flowers said. “So less than a thousand new freshman coming in for fall amounts to about a four million dollar shortfall.”

Flowers reminded the council that budget cuts two years ago caused the creation of the “SIU Financial Sustainability Plan,” which proposed cuts to seven academic programs.

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He said the situation is unfortunate and speculated actions by Chancellor Carlo Montemagno haven’t helped.

“Their failure to listen to myself and other students have created this situation,” Flowers said.

President of the Faculty Association Dave Johnson said at the Tuesday night meeting that the administration plans to send out three reasonable or moderate extensions for three of the school and department mergers to go out “in a week or so.” He did know which school and departments.

Johnson and Flowers both said the administration plans to send out all reasonable or moderate extensions at the college-level soon and present the proposal at the Board of Trustees meeting on April 12.

“In my view, it’s an attempt to short-circuit shared governance in some ways,” Johnson said.

Reasonable or moderate extensions are administrative changes used for renaming academic units, proposing new majors and concentrations and are administrative actions to begin merging, reducing, or eliminating academic degree programs, departments or schools.

Certain program change RME’s trigger the Article IX review process, Flowers said.

At the school and department level of the reorganization plan, program changes require the Article IX review process because a program is being separated from its home academic unit to a new one.

However, Flowers said there are RME’s which don’t require the Article IX review process, including a program name change because the program is not being changed, severed, expanded or eliminated.

RME’s at the college level is also not subject to the Article IX review process.

“As the administration understands it, reorganizing and merging colleges without eliminating units doesn’t fall under a program change,” Flowers said.

When colleges are merged the academic programs under the colleges are unchanged besides having a new administrative reporting line.

This administrative move allows the administration to create new schools for newly merged colleges that were created by the RME.

“That provides the administration an argument to say ‘we need the schools that will contain basic academic units within this new college, otherwise the entire structure simply does not work,” Flowers said. “It provides them justification to advocate for proceeding ahead with their school reorganization.”

In terms of how the reorganization process has been conveyed until this point, GPSC representative Lauran Schaefer said faculty was expecting the school reorganization to come before the college-level reorganization.

“They’ve [faculty] been focusing on what schools they want to be in and negotiating this during the reorganization process,” Schaefer said.

She said if the reorganization had originally been at the college-level, the perception and discussions of the reorganization plan would be much different.

Not only does merging colleges bypass the Article IX review process, but it also requires the new colleges to rewrite the operating papers to include the new units that were moved into the colleges.

Rewriting operating papers will change governance structures and reporting structures for the new colleges, Flowers said.

“This is administratively smart because you want to reorganize the largest units first and then work your way downwards,” Flowers said.

Johnson and Flowers both said it is predicted that the college-level RME’s will be presented to the Faculty Senate with 60 days for the constituency body to make a decision and offer feedback on the proposal.

Flowers said, given the proposal’s expected timeline and meeting schedule, the Graduate Council will have a difficult time to review the changes before the BOT meeting.

The council will have a week to review the proposal at its scheduled meeting time on April 5 and the BOT meeting April 12.

Graduate Council and Faculty Senate both have responsibilities to oversee certain parts of the university. Graduate Council, specifically oversees graduate student education, Flowers said.

The college-level RME’s will change where graduate programs are located. Flowers argued that changing graduate program locations is a change in graduate policy and requires Graduate Council’s feedback on the proposal.

‘In essence, it sidelines Graduate Council,” Flowers said. “Essentially they’ll have to force the Graduate Council to vote within a week or at the meeting, or they’re going to sidestep graduate council altogether.”

Campus editor Amelia Blakely can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AmeilaBlakely.

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Correction: The original story used a quote that included incorrect information about potential budget cuts. 

Correction: The original story used a quote that included incorrect information about program change proposals being presented to the Board of Trustee’s in April. 

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