Daily Egyptian

Letter to the Editor: An open letter to the SIU Board of Trustees, yes to the chancellor’s plan, no to reallocating Carbondale’s budget


As members of the SIU Alumni Association Board, we have the envious task of being both goodwill ambassadors and cheerleaders for a University that enriched our lives. SIU is abundant with traditions and past accomplishments.

These are the things that make our job easy and enjoyable. We are also deeply concerned about our University’s future. Years of budget delays and cuts combined with leadership changes have caused us to feel uneasy about what the years ahead will look like for our alma mater, SIU.

Then, along comes a man with vision, integrity, and determination, Dr. Carlo Montemagno.

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Chancellor Montemagno laid out a straw man plan for a bright future for SIU and is committed to going the distance and to do whatever is necessary to return the SIU campus back to its glory days. This is truly something in which to be excited. His resilience is a characteristic we find common in the stories we hear from alums.

Many SIU graduates faced daunting obstacles to earn their degrees. However, they persevered and their SIU experience served them well throughout their lives. Likely, the most important tradition we need to continue is the SIU tradition of helping individuals find and develop their talents so they can contribute and become productive members of society.

This is where SIU excels and what is most at risk. We believe the best path forward is to embrace the work of Montemagno and give him time and resources to end declining enrollment and rebuild our University to the stature we are capable of attaining. It’s been recently reported that waiting lists at each of the top U.S. universities is at an all time high.

The demand is there and we need to seize the moment and position SIU for these students.  The clock is ticking and it is now time for our Board of Trustees to demonstrate their leadership by approving Dr. Montemagno’ s plan at their meeting this week.

We were surprised and deeply concerned to learn the SIU Board of Trustees received a recommendation to cut the SIU Carbondale budget by 5.1 million dollars and move the funds to the Edwardsville campus. Carbondale has weathered an incredible storm of financial uncertainty and has survived.

SIUC has a plan, under the leadership of Montemagno, to rebuild and become stronger.  How could a substantial reduction in funds such as the one proposed make any sense while the University seeks to reorganize? We understand there is no urgency for this move so further thought and discussion would be prudent before acting.

The chancellor has spelled out how this reduction would affect the Carbondale campus in his blog https://blog.chancellor.siu.edu/responding-to-a-funding-proposal/. Furthermore, this appears to be a distraction to what the real needs are for a healthy system, which is a robust and competitive SIU Carbondale campus.

In conclusion, we believe the right thing for the SIU Board of Trustees to do is to approve as much of the chancellor’s plan as possible at their next meeting so we can go about the important work of furthering the essential mission of SIU. We also believe that the wrong thing to do to is to reallocate funding away from SIUC at a time when it so desperately needs the financial and administrative support of our Board of Trustees.

We applaud the numerous local legislators and the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce who share our view and have voiced their opinions on diverting funds away from Carbondale. Let us do what is required to continue to embrace the rich traditions of the past and to ensure that there is a robust future for the Carbondale campus. Please say “Yes” to the chancellor’s plan and “No” to reallocating Carbondale’s budget.

Larry Mieldezis, SIU Alumni Association Board, President, Rick Wysocki, SIU Alumni Association Board, President-Elect, Scott Moller, SIU Alumni Association Board, Vice President, Gary Heflin, SIU Alumni Association Board, Executive Committee, Laura Soucy, SIU Alumni Association Board, Executive Committee. 

SIU Alumni Association Board Vice President Scott Moller can be reached at [email protected] 

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4 Comments

4 Responses to “Letter to the Editor: An open letter to the SIU Board of Trustees, yes to the chancellor’s plan, no to reallocating Carbondale’s budget”

  1. Bradley Skelcher on April 9th, 2018 11:24 am

    I am an alumnus. I say No to the chancellor ‘s plan that will lead to the continued decline of SIUC.

  2. hobo on April 9th, 2018 12:23 pm

    Great comments, I think most people are behind the chancellor’s plan but have been shouted down by the same group who view themselves as the educational and intellectual superiors of the rest of us. SIUC might have a better chance of keeping the 5 million and getting more if we can prove we are educating and serving more people. I hear again and again that we are not recruiting local high schools and junior colleges. Come on figure it out, it costs very little to send a recruiter to a local school. Do we need more recruiters?

  3. Steve Brown on April 9th, 2018 1:31 pm

    As another member of the Alumni Association Board of Director I feel a need to express some concern over the linkage between the reorganization plan and the proposal to divert funds from Carbondale to Edwardsville. There was no need to link the topics. Nor is there any reason to expect the reorganization will lead to a growth in the Carbondale enrollment.

    Suggesting the reorganization represents a path to revitalize does not make sense.

    Furthermore it ignores the need to launch a creative marketing/scholarship plan to grow enrollment. It can be as simple as expanding faculty in programs like Aviation and Automotive so there are enough students to accept all the jobs being offered.

    Objecting to the diversion is not enough and tyng the objection to reorganization does not seem to make much sense.

    Applauding those who sat on their hands doing little or nothing during the budget impasse seems inappropriate.

    Thanks for a chance to shed some light on the issue from a slightly difference perspective.

  4. Richard H.Hiatt on April 9th, 2018 10:55 pm

    Dear Larry,
    I appreciate the executive committee taking immediate action and getting their voice out to the board and the public. I support the letter entirely and feel the Chancellor has a great approach and the Board of Trustees need to leave things alone for the time being. Much has been done to the promotion of Edwardsville campus which I think is fine but they need to live within their means and we need to put more resources into Carbondale to retool and move forward. After all the Board of Trustees put those past chancellors in who messed up the Carbondale campus. (I will debate anyone on this issue.) Now they need to let the new leader move forward who seems to have the University at heart and make it thrive. We needed change and the Board of Trustees need to take ownership of the past and put more resources to fix the campus and move forward.
    Thank you,
    Rick

    Richard H. Hiatt
    Hiatt Enterprises, LLC
    221 W. Washington St.
    P O Box 198
    Pontiac, IL 61764
    (o) 815-842-2344
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