* SIU President Glenn Poshard said that SIU Trustee nominee Melvin Terrell had been lobbied to vote for Poshard’s enemy Roger Herrin for chairman by the governor’s office. That would be a direct violation of an agreement Poshard had with Gov. Quinn. The governor promised to stay out of it, but his alleged interference led partially to the Senate giving the governor’s three new nominees zero votes last week during a confirmation vote.
Terrell now denies that he was contacted directly…
Terrell contacted The Southern on Friday night and said he received calls from current board members concerning the possibility of serving as chairman but had no direct contact with Quinn or any members of the governor’s staff. […]
Poshard said he called Terrell to congratulate him, but in a later conversation, he said Terrell excused himself from the phone conversation because he had the governor’s office on the other line.
Poshard said a short time later Terrell called him back and told him he was going to support Herrin for the board chairmanship and that Terrell said he would become the vice chairman and become chairman later. The president said he was told that this was at the insistence of the governor’s office.
Paula Keith, administrative assistant in the president’s office, said she was present for the conversation. She backed Poshard’s account as accurate.
Gov. Pat Quinn’s removal of three SIU board of trustees members has angered several African American groups in downstate Illinois.
A letter sent to Quinn Friday from the Alton, Edwardsville, East St. Louis and Springfield branches of the NAACP, along with the Madison County Urban League, expressed “disdain” over the governor’s removal earlier this week of John Simmons, Ed Hightower and Mark Hinrichs, three Metro East trustees, from the university’s governing board. Quinn nominated Sandra Cook of Collinsville, Lee Milner of Springfield and Melvin Terrell of Chicago to replace them, but the appointments were rejected by the Illinois Senate Wednesday.
The NAACP letter states specific concern over the treatment of Hightower and Quinn’s alleged push to make Harrisburg trustee Roger Herrin chairman of the board, a position he was removed from last year after other board members and SIU President Glenn Poshard claimed his leadership was divisive and bullying.
The letter also alleges Herrin told one of the ousted Metro East board members one of his goals for SIU was to reduce the minority population of the Carbondale campus.
That same allegation was made on the Senate floor by Senate Majority Leader James Clayborne. But Herrin denies it…
SIU trustee Roger Herrin denies ever making the statement he wanted to reduce the minority population of SIU Carbondale, a claim that was leveled on the floor of the Illinois Senate earlier this past week.
“I’m denying it, of course I am,” Herrin of Harrisburg said in a phone interview with The Southern Illinoisan on Saturday. “In all my 76 years that’s a card I’ve never played.”