Gov. Pat Quinn denies meddling in the business of the Southern Illinois University board. Quinn denies that his staff threatened the removal of SIU board members if they voted on the removal of the board chairman. Earlier this week SIU president Glenn Poshard claimed that Quinn staffers called board members before last week's ouster of Roger Herrin as board chairman to ask if they planned to vote for Herrin again to head the board.
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If members said they didn't plan to vote in favor of Herrin, Quinn's office asked them to skip the election or risk being removed from their own board posts, according to Poshard. “I think that wouldn’t be correct,” Quinn said. Quinn says he is fond of both men. “I like Glenn Poshard, I’ve known him for a long time,” Quinn said. “I like Roger Herrin, I’ve known him for a long time.” Herrin, who was appointed by Quinn as chairman last year, also denies any meddling. He is being replaced as chairman by attorney John Simmons. Quinn hopes university leaders will focus their energy on the students rather than bickering. “The most important thing at SIU Carbondale and Edwardsville …is to focus on students and what’s best for students, so I really hope that the board and the president work together for that mission,” Quinn said. He says that despite what some think, it’s not about politics and campaign donations. Quinn acknowledges that Herrin has donated money to his campaign but says Herrin has donated far more to Poshard over the length of the former congressman’s long political career.