SIU Board of Trustees moves forward with allocation study, approves Buys and Balkansky as interim deans


By Brian Munoz, Staff Reporter

The SIU Board of Trustees will be moving forward with a request for proposals on a system funding allocation study using an informal process that gives the board and the university more input.

After discussion with board chair Amy Sholar, creating an request for proposal by Aug. 1 and presenting multiple potential consultants to the board at the Sept. meeting was considered “an important additional objective,” according to the progress report created by Duane Stucky, Senior Vice President for Financial and Administrative Affairs.

Bids must be $99,999 or less, according to the board agenda attachments.  

Three consulting contractors were identified as prospective candidates for the study: MGT Consulting Group, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

By Aug. 6, the board is to seek suggestions from the National Association of System Heads membership on additional potential consultants. By Aug. 10 or before, the board is to seek suggestions from chancellors and Deans and Provosts on additional potential consultants and request to serve to evaluate consultant responses. By Aug. 15, the board is to send a request for proposals to potential consultants for responses by Aug. 31.

By Sept. 3, the board is to send consultant proposals to chancellors and Dean/Provost with the individual committee member rating to be completed by Sept. 7. By Sept. 8, ratings will be reviewed with the President.

At the next board meeting on Sept. 12-13, there will be a report of ratings for each consultant by each individual committee member, coded to stay anonymous, and a combined rating of each consultant will be given.

The call for a funding study

When asked about any potential investigations in the roles that various administrators, system staff and board members played after the release of nearly 1,900 pages of correspondence that show an attempt to shift over $5 million from Carbondale to Edwardsville and the creation of legislation that would dissolve the system, Interim SIU President J. Kevin Dorsey said “that was the past.”

See more: Dunn removed as SIU President after attempt in dissolving university system

“I’m more concerned in moving the university forward,” Dorsey said. “I’m not interested interested in rehashing what may or may not happened.”


Members of the board also unanimously voted to appoint Cindy Buys as the interim dean for the School of Law.

Andrew Balkansky as the interim dean for the College of Liberal Arts, with all trustees voting in favor besides student trustee Brione Lockett.

Both candidates were selected by Meera Komarraju, Interim Provost, in consultation with the SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno.

Balkansky will be paid $171,900 annually and Buys will be paid $222,000 annually beginning on Aug. 15.

Faculty, staff and students in the both the candidate’s schools had the opportunity to provide feedback on nominees for the interim dean position, according to appointment notes.  

Lockett questioned Montemagno on the role of student involvement in the appointment of Balkansky as the interim dean of COLA.

Interim provost Meera Komarraju ran to the chancellor’s side repeatedly during the series of questions from the board and whispered into the chancellor’s ear.

After being asked Sholar to step to the speaking podium, Komarraju said students were given the platform to provide feedback on the matter but did not answer whether or not students gave feedback.

Sholar asked Komarraju if the same process is taken in the appointment of an interim dean as a regular dean, Komarraju replied yes.

The Daily Egyptian reached out to the undergraduate and graduate student members of the College of Liberal Arts Council and the responses received at the time of publishing indicated that they had not been involved, despite being required to be by the College of Liberal Arts Operating Papers.

A letter, signed by eight current and former faculty and staff in the Anthropology department, including the current department chair, was written in opposition of Balkansky hiring claiming that he has been abusive to both colleagues and students.

“Dr. Balkansky has become renown among faculty and graduate students for his aggressive outbursts during M.A. thesis and Ph.D. dissertation defenses as well as his vindictive persecution of students he wanted purged from the department,” according to the letter obtained by the Daily Egyptian.

The letter also claims that Balkansky also carried out an effort to “undermine and destroy the reputation of an international master’s student from Latin America.”

“The reasons behind Dr. Balkansky campaign of harassment against the student now appear to have been based on interpersonal matters having nothing to do with the student’s professional or intellectual performance,” according to the letter.

Komarraju said the letter had been withdrawn yet Roberto Barrios, assistant professor in Anthropology and one of the letters signees, said he had not been contacted about anyone in administration about withdrawing the letter. 

Presidential Search and System Evaluation

The SIU Board of Trustees is in the process of hiring St. Louis based legal firm Bryan Cave LLP and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges to evaluate the presidential search and a system evaluation. 

Sholar said historically, the presidential search has taken around seven months to complete but could be longer.

“I think the key thing that the entire board felt was let’s get it right rather than do it fast,” Dorsey said.

AGB will be at the September board meeting to conduct an assessment of the meeting and then present at the same meeting then again in December. The group’s focus will be more on board governance, according to Sholar.

Bryan Cave LLP is handling the system evaluation and a management audit through interviews with board members, management, the system office and the chancellors among other positions, Sholar said.

Each contract is not to less than $100,000 to follow state procurement law, Sholar said.

The board also passed the purchase of a new digital color press for $882,218.70.

The Ameren Illinois easement agenda item to construct an underground gas pipeline that would cross property on the Edwardsville campus was taken off of the agenda.


Sholar said the atmosphere was “night and day” compared to the last meeting.

“I also don’t want to focus on the past, I want to move us forward,” Sholar said. “We have some tasks at hand that are monumental. We have to pick a new president to lead our system.”

Sholar said there is work to do at each campus and the system office.

“You can’t sell your house until you spruce it up,” Sholar said. “We need to do some house cleaning – we’re looking internally to make changes… so moving forward we can serve the system at our best.”

Dorsey said this was the first board meeting he has attended in more than two and a half years.

“This just felt so normal,” Dorsey said. “It was just a collegial group of people that we collectively needed to work on – it was fine.”

The next SIU Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for Sept. 13 at the Edwardsville campus.

Staff reporter Brian Munoz can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @BrianMMunoz.

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