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Quinn Nominates Two To Southern Illinois University Board

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(St. Louis Public Radio)
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Opponents hope to steer SIUE officials into a sandtrap in their efforts to built a new golf course.

Jennifer Fuller contributed reporting for this story from Carbondale, Ill.

The turmoil surrounding the Board of Trustees at Southern Illinois University appears to be settling down.

Gov. Pat Quinn announced the nomination today of two individuals with ties to the university's campus in Edwardsville. Randal Thomas, the former top officer of the Illinois National Guard, has degrees from SIU-E and Shirley Portwood taught history there.

The picks represent a compromise between Quinn and members of the Illinois Senate. In February, that chamber rejected the governor's picks to replace three trustees whose terms had expired.  All three of the departing trustees were from the Metro East, and that prompted Democratic state senator Bill Haine from Alton, Ill. to introduce a measure removing the entire board and requiring that at least three future members have connections to SIU-E.

Haine today applauded Quinn's picks, and said he won't move that measure forward for the time being.

"Both of these new appointments have ties to SIU-E," he said. "That brings us back to the rough geographic balance. But they also have a background which indicates a dedication to  Southern Illinois University as a whole. I'm confident they both will contribute to a board which functions for a common goal and a common mission, and without any public rancor at all."

Haine expects Portwood and Thomas to win confirmation from the Senate. They could join their fellow trustees at the board's meeting next week in Carbondale.

One seat on the board remains vacant.

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