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Faculty members seek equality between campuses in SIU system

Faculty members at Southern Illinois University’s Edwardsville campus aren’t making any demands, but they are making the case for equality in the SIU system.

Southern Illinois University trustees will meet again in July. And SIU-E professors will once again make a push to be recognized. The school’s faculty senate approved a resolution earlier this month that makes the case for Edwardsville to be recognized as a “distinct and equal” campus.

Faculty Senate chief Marcus Agustin on Wednesday said the case is simple: SIU-E’s enrollment is growing, while enrollment at SIU’s Carbondale campus is falling.

 Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s enrollment decreased from 24,869 total students in the fall of 1991 to 14,554 in the fall of 2017. That’s a 41.5 percent decline. Enrollment at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has increased steadily from 11,808 total students in 1991 to 13,796 in 2017. That’s a 16.8 percent increase.

“As a faculty member, I understand the challenges that SIU-C is facing right now,” Agustin said. “But at the same time we cannot wait for Carbondale to, shall we say, get their act together.”

SIU trustees last month voted against a plan to shift about $5 million from Carbondale to Edwardsville, to in essence follow the students.

There is a growing appetite in Edwardsville to split the campus from the SIU system. Lawmakers could vote any day on a plan, HB 1292, that would break apart SIU’s campuses and create new universities.

Agustin said faculty members in Edwardsville are not asking for money at July’s trustee meeting. He said they just want trustees to acknowledge their success.

“There has to be more of a recognition that we are now equal partners, we are equal universities,” Agustin said. “It’s not like 25 years ago when we were a small, commuter campus.”

Agustin said he hopes to get a hearing on the faculty resolution at the July meeting.

– From Illinois News Network

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