EDWARDSVILLE - SIU's president and former board of trustees chairman held little back in a public argument Thursday after a failed meeting on the Edwardsville campus.
A news conference following the meeting turned into a verbal brawl between SIU President Glenn Poshard and trustee Roger Herrin, who was last year ousted as chairman of the board.
After addressing the Illinois Senate's rejection of three new appointments Gov. Pat Quinn made earlier this week, the talk became heated with Poshard and Herrin making various accusations about one another.
Poshard again said Gov. Pat Quinn tried to become involved in the board process of electing a chairman, claiming that Melvin Terrell, one of the three appointees rejected by the Senate, told Poshard that was contacted by Herrin, who said he was going to become chairman again. Herrin immediately said this wasn't true.
Poshard said that there were witnesses.
Herrin said he hasn't spoken to the governor in months and did not know the trustees. He claimed the coercement "came from elsewhere."
"We clearly have a division here and he (Poshard) wants anyone to be chairman but me," Herrin said.
The argument eventually turned into arguments over board members not showing interest in the Carbondale or Edwardsville campus, with Poshard saying Herrin and two other members did not even take the time to take part in the interviews for the Edwardsville chancellor position.
Herrin claimed that trustees from the Metro East didn't go to a Saluki basketball game after a board meeting in Carbondale.
The argument got particularly heated after Herrin said Poshard was once a good friend of his. Poshard said that when people ask him to rig elections, for the general counsel, it doesn't matter if that person is "a friend or anything else."
Herrin then responded that Poshard had crossed a line and said if Poshard thought he did something illegal then he should "put on his big boy pants and go after it."
Poshard also accused Golconda trustee Don Lowery of trying to manipulate a search for the university's general counsel last year, but Lowery just questioned why Poshard was going after him.
"I simply tried to mediate a problem I saw going on and it escalated," Lowery said.
SIU General Counsel Jeff McLellan pulled Poshard and Herrin aside multiple times individually and once at the same time to advise them privately before the news conference ended.
The board failed to establish a quorum for its meeting Thursday because of the rejected appointments and the absence of trustee Marquita Wiley. The group was scheduled to hear presentations on increased tuition and fees for the upcoming fall semester.