The Southern Illinois University Edwards Faulty Senate President said he wants to see terms put on any money loans to Southern Illinois University Carbondale during the financial crisis going on at the state level.
Jeffrey Sabby, SIUE Faculty Senate president, made the remarks on the Belleville News-Democrat website.
“In order to keep the system healthy, we know that we have to help our sister university out, but we want it to have terms,” he said in the video. “We want to know exactly how much they want to fund. What they want to take from our reserves? What are the terms of the loan? How long is it going to be? How many months? Basically, we want to see Carbondale develop a viable plan for budget cuts.”
The video comes after the SIU Board of Trustees delayed a vote on allowing Carbondale to tap Edwardsville unrestricted funds to keep the campus from falling into deficit spending. This is an action that must happen even after Carbondale cut $21 million the year before and in the midst of cutting $30 million before July 1.
“SIUE has engaged in budgeted discussions for the past 2-3 years. We have made those cuts. We have made ourselves healthy and viable,” Sabby said in the video. “We would like our sister university to do the same. We have no problem helping them out in their time of need, but we just need some reassurances.”
Sabby went on to say that the appropriations coming from the state to the SIU system should be changed. He said when looking the past 50 years, there has been about a 70/30 split in funding with Carbondale receiving the larger amount.
“SIUE, even though we have grown about 30 percent since 1989, have remained steady at 29 percent in state appropriation. In the same timeframe, SIUC has dropped in student population about 35 percent,” Sabby said. “In the resolution, I just ask if the system president (Randy Dunn), Board of Trustees, (SIUE) Chancellor Randall Pembrook, SIUC Interim Chancellor (Brad) Colwell would get together and make a good go at it in terms of opening discussions concerning reappropriationment and show the faculty senate executive committee here at Edwardsville that there are working and these discussions are open and they are working toward a resolution.”
He said a possible solution could be something more student-population based.
“Carbondale is sitting at about a little under 16,000 student population and in the fall they are looking like they will be another 300-500 down,” Sabby said. “At some point in time, the lines between SIUE and Carbondale in terms of student population could cross. So, we need to think how the funding from the state is appropriated.”
John Charles, director of Government and Public Affairs, said the percentage Sabby used is incorrect.
“The correct percentage of SIU’s state appropriation is 60 percent to Carbondale and 40 percent to Edwardsville,” Charles said.
He said the split is not always the same as the full SIU budget varies each year.
This isn’t the first time the Carbondale campus has received backlash about a potential loan. At the April 6 Board of Trustees meeting, Kim Archer, associate professor at SIUE, said even though Carbondale loaned the Edwardsville campus money in the past to build dorms, it wasn’t during a state budget crisis, and “they could afford it anyway.”
She said Edwardsville could tell the political climate in Springfield was shifting and the campus upped its contingency funds from 5 percent to 25 percent and endured $12 million in cuts.
“We protected our students, our community, our programs and yes, we protected our jobs,” she said. “What did Carbondale do? “They did not cut, at least not enough. They did not adjust, or at least not enough. They burned through much of their own reserved. They tapped the medical school dry and now they are coming after us. We saved, we thought ahead, we were proactive.”
“The medical school will tell you that it’s ethically questionable to give an addict a new kidney without first requiring some treatment,” she said. “The SIU Edwardsville faculty are asking you to recognize that Carbondale seems to be an addict — to its own traditions, to its own ways, to its own reputation.”
“Those things are changing, and so must SIUC,” she added. “So before we give up a kidney at SIUE — and trust me, it will feel like that at SIU Edwardsville — we must pledge to our own educational communities, to our students, to their families, to the people who live in the Metro East area, that this is a safe investment, and that it is minimal risk and that we’re not trading away what we worked so hard for to bail out another school that didn’t work that hard.”
At the April 6 meeting, Colwell said the Carbondale campus has made cuts, including the $21 the past year and $30 million to be identified by July 1. He said difficult decisions have been made, and will continue to be made into the future.
The trustees are expected to call a special board meeting sometime in May to select a new chancellor for the Carbondale campus and vote on allowing the president to transfer funds from Edwardsville to Carbondale. The president has said Carbondale’s first priority would be to pay back Edwardsville if the state budget crisis is solved.