Governor Pat Quinn is expected to fill a couple of empty seats on the board of trustees for Southern Illinois University. Quinn is reportedly expected to name former Illinois National Guard chief Randal Thomas and former SIUE history professor Shirley Portwood as early as today. The Illinois Senate rejected three of Quinn's earlier appointees who were expected to support the naming of trustee Roger Herrin as board chairman.
Herrin has clashed repeatedly with SIU President Glenn Poshard. Controversy has surrounded the board recently, as three members with ties to Edwardsville - Edwardsville School District Superintendent Ed Hightower, Alton attorney John Simmons, and businessman Mark Hinrichs of O'Fallon - were not retained by Quinn in February. There are those that say the move was political in nature. In late February, State Senator Bill Haine introduced a bill that would require that, of the seven gubernatorial appointed board members, three of the appointees must be graduates of SIU Carbondale and three must be graduates of SIU Edwardsville, and would also extend voting privileges to the second student representative. That bill was referred to "Assignments," where it remains, according to the Illinois General Assembly website.