Low enrollment forces SIU to close towers


Low enrollment forces SIU to close towers

CARBONDALE, IL — Some university students will have to look for a new home next year. Southern Illinois University Carbondale recently announced it will close two dorms because of low enrollment.

The SIU towers are among the most well known buildings in Carbondale, Illinois. They’re the tallest buildings in town, but soon they will be empty. Student Abby Crider said she’s enjoyed her time living there.

“You kind of feel like you are in a huge skyscraper,” Crider said.

She said she’s disappointed they will be closing at the end of the semester, but she understands the reasoning behind it.

“I think if it’s good for the school to close it. It’s a good way to go,” said Crider.

The university plans to consolidate housing on the west side of campus. SIU hopes that will build a more engaged, tightly knit community. Student Tony Barbato said he thinks that’s a good idea.

“It’s cool how they are going to keep everybody on west campus now, so there is going to be enough students to keep on west campus. It will kind of have that same spark on the east,” Barbato said.

Crider said the move across campus could take some getting used to, though.

“It’s kind of sad to see them go, because you have your own community over there.There is nothing wrong with being all together, but you kind of feel different aspects on each side of campus,” Crider said.

One student told me she thinks the move could be an inconvenience for some people. “Living on west campus is more of an out the way walk,” Mercades Kendall said.

Crider said she is thankful for the memories from her time living in the towers. “It was a cool experience to have, but it’s all about the enrollment,” said Crider. She plans to live in an apartment next year.

University officials hope to either reopen the towers in the future or offer new housing someday. They said it’s too early to say which of those paths the school will take.

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March 16, 2018 at 06:32PM

Low enrollment forces SIU to close towers

InFocus: SIU President on Reorganization Progress, Budget Projections


SIU President Randy Dunn talks with InFocus Host Jennifer Fuller about the status of the SIUC reorganization proposal, as well as next month’s hearings in the Illinois Legislature on budget requests.

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February 27, 2018 at 01:21PM

InFocus: SIU President on Reorganization Progress, Budget Projections

Board of Trustees raises tuition two percent, attendees express concern and frustration over reorganization


Following the Board of Trustees approval of a two percent tuition raise Thursday, heated discussions took place in regards to concerns over the stability and future of SIU and its restructuring.


The tuition increase will only affect incoming students, as previous classes are locked in to rates when they first enroll. The proposed increase would have fall 2018 undergraduate students paying $9,637.50 and graduate students paying $11,268.   

The board also passed to have one general uncapped on-campus student fee of $117 per credit hour. Student trustee Sam Beard expressed concerns over uncapping student fees and increasing tuition.

“Year after year after year we raise the price of attendance to the university without actually increasing the quality of the education and student life,” Beard said. “By uncapping all of these fees, students who are taking 15 or 18 credit hours will now have to pay even more in fees to the university than if they were capped at 12.”

The Q&A session

Due to a larger amount of attendees who wished to comment after the meetings, their time was limited to two minutes to speak to the board.

Faculty Senate President Kathleen Chwalisz commented on the reorganization process and her belief it will be better for programs.

“We simply have too many departments to support as independent academic units at this time, We don’t have the money, faculty lines and staff positions to support departments in the way they need to be supported to thrive,” Chwalisz said. “Schools save programs, schools have been designed in an elegant manner, right now there are several departments that are not able to cover their own costs in budget.”

Chwalisz said she believes the reorganization provides an unprecedented opportunity for shared governance as faculty have been given a basic framework and are in charge of envisioning what the school will look like, but noted some faculty have chosen not to participate.

Faculty Association President Dave Johnson said the debate of SIU boils down to trust and whether the chancellor can be trusted at this time. 

“Universities however can not be run on trust alone,” Johnson said. “We now know that in the midst of our current crisis Montemagno insisted on SIUC providing jobs for his daughter and son-in-law who lacked any formal qualifications for these jobs.”

Johnson said students, faculty and staff have lost trust in Montemagno and ultimately, only they can rebuild this university.

“We have our work cut out for us, but let us do our work,” Johnson said.

Representative of the Graduate Assistants Union Lauran Schafer spoke of the chancellor creating a “culture of intimidation at SIUC.”

Shafer said she is concerned about the administration’s disregard for shared governance and advised the board to “keep an eye” on the constituency bodies who voted to oppose the universal elimination of departments.

“While I understand you may all enjoy the cordial comfortable and respectful demeanor from the chancellor, I think it’s important that you know that it is not the man we all experience when you are not present,” Shafer said.

Graduate and Professional Student Council President Jonathan Flowers spoke to the board in regards to GPSC’s 23-1 vote of no confidence in chancellor Montemagno, which passed Tuesday.

When asked his position on this, Montemagno responded, “I don’t have any real response. I’m disappointed that they would take that position, and I look forward to continuing to work with them.”

Flowers said by passing this vote of no confidence, GPSC is “making clear that it has no confidence in the ability for the chancellor to successfully execute the duties of the office of the chancellor.”

He said GPSC has attempted to make the board and the administration aware of the concerns leading to the vote through a letter of complaint and censure last semester. 

The Daily Egyptian obtained the censure and letter of complaint, and can be found below:

Letter of Complaint

GPSC Censure of Carlo Montemagno

“To be clear, the face of threats to our faculty, our department and our institution, the Graduate and Professional Student Council will not yield, not to this chancellor, not to this board, not now and not ever,” Flowers said.

Associate history professor Natasha Zaretsky spoke to the board and expressed her concerns.

“I am here today to ask for your stewardship,” Zaretsky told the board. “The chancellor’s restructuring plan for our campus is in deep crisis, and the community is looking to you for your leadership.”

Zaretsky told the board the faculty senate, the graduate council and USG passed resolutions by “considerable margins” opposing reorganization.

“These votes don’t lie,” Zaretsky said.“This crisis is happening because in this haste, the chancellor did not take the time to go trust in our campus and learn about our strengths as well as our challenges and now an ethics investigation has eroded trust further.”

Speaking after the meeting, Montemagno said comments made during the Q&A session about a culture of intimidation at SIU were inconsistent.

“I treat our faculty with respect; I treat everybody with respect,” Montemagno said. “I am not rude, I’m not abrasive, and those statements, I think, are not reflective of the actual truth of the matter.”

In regards to the progress of the reorganization, Montemagno said it’s “progressing very well.”

“The number of schools that are proceeding is large, the number of institutions that have voted to extend the consultative period to 30 days is only 3 out of the 20 schools,” Montemagno said. “People are engaged, people are working hard on it. This has been a very collaborative and deliberative process.”

The next Board of Trustees meeting is set for Thursday, April 12, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Editor-in-chief Athena Chrysanthou can be reached at achrysanthou@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter @Chrysant1Athena.

Managing Editor Reagan Gavin can be reached at rgavin@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter @RGavin_DE.

To stay up to date with all your Southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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February 8, 2018 at 05:10PM

Board of Trustees raises tuition two percent, attendees express concern and frustration over reorganization

Daniel Biss Launches Statewide College Tour


Daniel Biss Launches Statewide College Tour

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

On Thursday, February 1st, Daniel Biss will kick off a seven day tour visiting colleges across Illinois to meet with voters and share his vision for an Illinois that works. Biss has vocalized on the campaign trail to make higher education accessible to every Illinoisan, including advocating for free in-state tuition at public colleges and universities, and introducing, passing, and overriding Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Student Loan Bill of Rights. Over the course of the tour, Bill will visit 13 college and university campuses across Illinois including:

Friday, Feb. 2nd
Roosevelt University, Chicago
University of Chicago, Chicago

Saturday, February 3rd
Northwestern University, Evanston
Loyola University, Chicago
DePaul University, Chicago

Monday, February 5th
Lake Forest College, Lake Forest
Elmhurst College, Elmhurst

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February 1, 2018 at 06:24AM

Daniel Biss Launches Statewide College Tour

Endowment grows 6.7 percent, likely placing NU within new endowment tax threshold


Newly-published figures by the Northwestern Investment Office indicate the University’s endowment has reached the threshold for a new endowment tax enacted Dec. 22 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. University officials are still uncertain, however, what impact the tax will have on NU.

The Office published on its website that the endowment had grown to roughly $10.5 billion at the end of August 2017, completing the fiscal year with a 6.7 percent growth rate — up from last year’s $9.8 billion value.

The new figure suggests NU could join other private colleges — those with more than 500 students and assets with a market value of at least $500,000 per full-time equivalent student — in paying the 1.4% excise tax on annual net investment income.

The University currently reports 20,500 full-time equivalent students, meaning its assets have an estimated value of $510,000 per student. This figure could qualify NU for the tax beginning as early as next year.

Jonathan Yates, director of media relations for NU, told The Daily last week it wasn’t clear if the University would be immediately subject to the tax. The previously-reported figure of $9.8 billion would have placed the endowment’s value at roughly $480,000 per student — just under the tax threshold.

Al Cubbage, vice president for University relations, echoed Yates’s uncertainty in a Friday email to The Daily. Despite the new figure, he said, it’s still unclear to the University whether it will begin paying the tax this upcoming year.

With an endowment that has grown more than 10 times its size since 1991, however, it looks like Northwestern will eventually face the tax.

“We anticipate that the University would be (subject to the tax) in subsequent years, assuming the endowment continues to grow,” Cubbage said. “When that occurs, we’ll pay the tax. But we don’t know precisely what the impact may be.”

Critics have said that impact may include a decrease in financial aid for low-income students and fewer donations, as some may prefer money meant to fund the University not go to the federal government.

Cubbage declined to comment further, saying some answers to questions were unavailable due to office closures for the winter recess.

Whether NU pays the levy for the 2018 tax year, he said, will depend on how the federal government defines three key terms: the base year, the endowment and the number of students.

The reported figure of 20,500 NU students is based on the commonly used metric of full-time equivalent students, which calculates the number of average full-time students by taking into account the course load of part-time students.

Though it’s likely the federal government will continue to use this measure, the language remains vague and the Internal Revenue Service has not yet released clarifying information about the new law.

The law defines the number of students of an institution as the “daily average number of full-time students.” The metric would take into account part-time students “on a full-time student equivalent basis.”

What assets will be considered part of the endowment is also unclear.

The law calculates the value of endowment at the end of the tax year using the “aggregate fair market value of the assets,” excluding those “that are used directly in carrying out the institution’s exempt purpose.”

The IRS said in a statement it is withholding guidelines for the new tax law until January.

Email: alanperez2020@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @_perezalan_

The post Endowment grows 6.7 percent, likely placing NU within new endowment tax threshold appeared first on The Daily Northwestern.

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December 31, 2017 at 06:47PM

Endowment grows 6.7 percent, likely placing NU within new endowment tax threshold

SIUC students walk out, say tax plan ‘destroys’ higher education


Graduate students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale joined hundreds of others from across the country in a walkout on Wednesday to protest a tax plan by House Republicans.

“This destroys the idea of a graduate employee income that could potentially support graduate students through their education, and it destroys the idea that working people can go and get a graduate-level education and can participate in innovative and scientific communities,” one of the SUIC organizers Sam Smucker told the Southern Illinoisan.

The bill would classify graduate students’ tuition waivers as taxable income. Graduate students often get tuition waivers and a stipend for their work teaching and as research assistants.

Nearly 145,000 graduate students received tax exemption waivers in 2011 and 2012, according to the American Council on Education.

“The graduate tuition waiver is not income. This is not a salary. I don’t see that money. … Nobody else, anywhere, pays $25,000 just to park at their job,” said Andy Harper, a doctoral student.

More importantly, Harper told The Southern Illinoisan, graduate students teach classes that professors are unwilling to teach.

“Our prolific, highly published, kickass, academically influential faculty are not going to hang around to teach 101 or 102, nor should they, because the world progresses and our nation progresses when they are doing the work in their fields, not covering basic composition,” Harper said.

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November 30, 2017 at 11:52AM

SIUC students walk out, say tax plan ‘destroys’ higher education

IL Comptroller visits SIU to speak on budget


IL Comptroller visits SIU to speak on budget

(Source: KFVS)
(Source: KFVS)


The Illinois Comptroller visited Southern Illinois University to talk with students about some of what she’s been able to accomplish regarding the Illinois state Budget.

Susana Mendoza said she’s had a busy fiscal year. Not only has she been using proceeds from the recent General Obligation bond sale to pay down a huge portion of the state’s unpaid bills, she was also able to override Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Debt Transparency act.

“For me I feel grateful having this relief after having worked very hard to convince the governor to finally to finally do it but we are here,” Mendoza said. “Its one step in the right direction, debt transparency another step in the right direction. there are many more steps in the right direction but I’d be happy to lead the way.”

Mendoza has been the Illinnois Comptroller since last year.

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November 14, 2017 at 10:52PM

IL Comptroller visits SIU to speak on budget