CARBONDALE — A newspaper analysis shows Southern Illinois University's president may have been aware of a separation bill before trustees were informed.

SIU President Randy Dunn has been criticized in recent weeks over his handling of a proposal to shift $5.1 million in state appropriations funding from the Carbondale campus to Edwardsville. Dunn has publicly stated that he had a neutral stance on the issue.

The Southern Illinoisan said its analysis of documents the university released Thursday shows Dunn could've been developing models for state appropriation reallocation as early as July 2017. The documents also suggest that Dunn's staff might have assisted in developing the bill.

Emails indicate that Dunn counseled SIU Edwardsville Chancellor Randy Pembrook throughout the development and unveiling of the proposal. They also show Carbondale officials and the Board of Trustees weren't immediately informed of the proposal.

Dunn also coordinated outreach to media and legislators to gain support for the reallocation, the newspaper found.

The board of trustees split 4-4 on the issue of placing Dunn on administrative leave last week after an email surfaced in which he used a slur to refer to critics of the reallocation.

Trustees Joel Sambursky, Phil Gilbert, Marsha Ryan and Tom Britton voted to place Dunn on a 120-day administrative leave, pending investigation by an independent counsel. Trustees Amy Sholar, Shirley Portwood, Randal Thomas and SIUE Student Trustee Luke Jansen voted against it.

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