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SIU President Randy Dunn listens to speakers in June during the public comments and questions portion of a special meeting of the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees in Edwardsville.

CARBONDALE — Local legislators are calling for the removal of Southern Illinois University President Randy Dunn after documents revealed the extent of his involvement in a reallocation proposal and a bill to separate the Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses.

State Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, was the first state legislator to call for Dunn’s removal after The Southern Illinoisan’s publication of an analysis of nearly 1,900 pages of internal documents on Friday.

“The president has lost my confidence and the confidence of at least four of the members of the Board of Trustees,” Bryant said. “It is time for Randy Dunn to be done as the SIU President. It is the Board’s duty to act in the best interest of the University system as a whole.”

She called on Board of Trustees Chair Amy Sholar to remove Dunn.

“This is a time for leadership and I believe Chair Sholar must step up and lead. I believe the sooner Randy Dunn is removed and replaced, the better it will be for everyone involved,” Bryant said.

State Rep. Dave Severin, R-Benton, said in a statement the documents show Dunn was working behind the scenes with Edwardsville officials to shift funds from SIUC to SIUE.

"That is not the capacity that Randy Dunn was hired to serve in. The University President is hired to act in the best interest of the entire University system and it is clear in the case of the funding shift and the legislation that would have split up the University, he was not acting in the best interest of the SIU system," Severin said.

State Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, said in a statement that he had he had read the most recently released emails and concluded that Dunn is not providing the leadership the system needs in order to compete.

“In light of the SIU Board of Trustees' rejection of proposals to split the universities, the SIU President must be able to zealously advocate for a combined system. Unfortunately, these latest emails, in my opinion, irrevocably damage President Dunn's ability to champion a unified system. Because of this, I believe we need new leadership in the position of SIU President," Schimpf said.

State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, said Dunn will “no longer be able to effectively carry out his duties” in light of the documents.

“For the sake of SIU’s future, I would encourage President Dunn to consider resigning as president. Given the current environment of distrust surrounding President Dunn and his recent actions, we should allow someone new to step into the leadership role, restore confidence in the position of SIU president and work to strengthen SIU as a unified system,” Fowler said in a statement provided to The Southern.

The analysis published Friday found that Dunn had worked closely with SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook on a proposal to shift $5.1 million in state appropriation funding from SIUC to SIUE, and that his office might have helped to develop a bill introduced by Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, to separate the two campuses.

At a June 21 meeting, a motion to put Dunn on administrative leave failed to pass the Board of Trustees.

Bryant, who is a member of the House Higher Education Committee, initially called for Dunn’s removal in May after a guest view by an SIUC faculty member revealed that he had referred to opponents of the reallocation proposal as “bitchers” in an email.

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On Twitter: @janis_eschSI



Janis Esch is a reporter covering higher education.

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