CARBONDALE — Another member of the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees is calling for the release of documents that involve SIU President Randy Dunn and pertain to the allocation of state funding and the legislation to separate the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses.
Board Vice Chair Phil Gilbert said the university’s general counsel has sent 1,000 pages of unredacted correspondence to the trustees over the course of the last ten days, beginning the night before the May 30 special board meeting.
Gilbert said he has reviewed all the documents and that they necessitated the calling of an urgent meeting to place Dunn on administrative leave and hire an acting president.
He did not disclose the contents of the documents.
“If the information we had wasn’t serious, Trustee (Joel) Sambursky and I wouldn’t have felt obligated to call an executive committee meeting,” Gilbert said.
That executive committee meeting, scheduled for Friday, was ultimately scrapped after Board Chair Amy Sholar claimed Sambursky and Gilbert were trying to skirt the board’s bylaws in ousting the president; Sambursky later released a statement calling for the meeting’s cancellation.
“I disagree with her (Sholar’s) interpretation. I also disagree that she can unilaterally say a meeting is illegal,” Gilbert said.
On Wednesday morning, the regular July 12 board meeting was canceled due to a lack of a quorum. The next regularly scheduled meeting is September 13.
“In reviewing these documents, the issues raised by these documents are too important to the future of the SIU system to wait until September, because it concerns leadership,” Gilbert said.
He said he was joining Sambursky in requesting the release of the unredacted documents, either by Chair Sholar or the full board.
“It’s just vitally important to the future of this system and for transparency, since we’re operating with public funds, that the press and the public see what’s been going on,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert said the issue isn’t the allocation of funding, and that he believes all board members want an updated funding formula for the SIUC and SIUE campuses.
“Right now we have a serious conflict between the leader of the system and at least the Carbondale chancellor. … There’s no question that the board needs to come together to work all this out. And I think we will,” Gilbert said.
Sambursky noted in his statement that Sholar agreed to convene the board on June 21, but Sambursky requested that the meeting be held sooner. Misty Whittington, executive secretary to the board, said Friday that a meeting has not yet been scheduled.