Daily Egyptian

GPSC discusses proposed house bills and updated program change proposals

By Amelia Blakely, Campus Editor

At its regularly scheduled Graduate and Professional Student Council meeting Tuesday, GPSC President Johnathan Flowers said the new Illinois House Bill 5861 has strong potential to be passed in legislation.

The house bill was introduced along with two others, after the Board of Trustees on April 12 killed a proposal to shift $5.125 million in state funds.

As previously reported by the Daily Egyptian, Illinois House Bill 5861 calls for the abolishment of the current SIU Board of Trustees and separate boards to be created for the Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses.

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The bill has bipartisan and community support for the separation of the two schools, Flowers said.  

“These kinds of bills tend to show up every three to four years, usually proposed by the same legislator down in Edwardsville,” Flowers said. “Which has led to some on this campus brushing off this latest attempt to separate the system.”  

The Carbondale campus brushing the legislation off is a “fool-hearted” move Flowers said.

Illinois House Bill 5861 arises in a time of certain social and political context which strengthens its potential to passed, Flowers said.

“Previously these bills were submitted without the support of the four Democrats down in Edwardsville, including the East St. Louis representative,” Flowers said. “Now, it has all of them.”

In the accumulation of bipartisan and community support, the Edwardsville campus has been successful amidst the Illinois state budget impasse with increasing enrollment and stable financial health.

“Our faculty and administration might have won a short-term victory for this campus at the cost of the entire system,” Flowers said.

Clay Aswumb, the council’s vice president for graduate student affairs said the next board meeting on July 12 in Springfield will be very telling of where board members stand on the issue.

Edwardsville’s reaction to the voted-down funding shift is obvious that they lobbied with legislators before they brought the proposal to the board Awsumb said.

“I do think the next Board of Trustee’s meeting will be very interesting now that, so to speak Edwardsville has shown their cards,” Aswumb said.

Sheena Hart, a representative from the law school said because the Illinois State House session is almost over she doesn’t think the bill will pass.

“I don’t think we have a lot to worry about right now on this,” Hart said. “But I do think this campus needs to get it together.”

Flowers agreed with Hart that he doesn’t expect the House bill to pass this year.

The newest updated version of program change proposals was also presented at the meeting Tuesday night.

In the college of Health and Human Sciences, Health Sciences and Human Sciences received their own schools.

Flowers said the creation of those individual units helps address concerns within the new reasonable or moderate extension packets being released.

The Recreation Professions program was placed in Human Sciences.

“There is a concern in the division of social work,” Flowers said. “Under the current structure division of social work does not comply with their accreditation requirements as indicated within a letter in the program change packet.”

Flowers said he doesn’t know if the administration has resolved the concern.

In the School of Education’s program change packet the school is the only unit to have a dean rather than a director.

“This introduces an interesting structural problem,” Flowers said.

This setup Flowers said can lead to interesting administrative issues. For example, the previous structures’ reporting line is division coordinator, school director and then the dean.  

Flowers also presented two faculty-created college proposals for the College of Social Sciences and Humanities and the College of Communication, Design, and the Arts.

The College of Social Sciences and Humanities is distinct from Chancellor Carlo Montemagno’s by maintaining departments and adding centers, Flowers said.

The College of Communication, Design, and the Arts is also unique in that it is very explicit schools in the proposed college retain control of their support facilities

“This is worth noting because it’s not something the chancellor included in his program change proposal and I assume it’s an assumption the units would retain control over their specific facility spaces,” Flowers said.

Existing and potential spaces are included in the schools retaining their facility spaces, Flowers said.

Also in the meeting, GPSC motioned to write a letter of complaint to the Board of Trustees regarding the failure to convene university-wide committees.

Flowers said the university isn’t fulfilling its obligation to gather university-wide committees throughout the academic school year.

“It is my understanding that some of these committees are meeting infrequently or not at all, or have not received direction from the chancellor, which is a problem,” Flowers said.

A university-wide committee is a committee is assembled by the chancellor or administrator that covers an affair throughout the campus.

University-wide committees include Affirmative Action Advisory Committee, the chancellor’s Budget and Planning, Parking, Traffic and Student Health Advisory.

“Constituency bodies filing a formal complaint about the failure of university-wide committees to meet tends to put it on their radar, and they may ask questions,” Flowers said.

The Board of Trustees could say the committees are being met but the graduate student representatives are not attending Flowers said.

“We can say, ‘Well if these committees are meeting and our reps haven’t been there then the committee chairs are not doing their duties and reaching out to our representatives,” Flowers said.

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

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