Poshard puts chancellor at SIU-Carbondale on leave after nine months

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University's president said Monday he has placed the chancellor of the university's flagship campus in Carbondale on paid administrative leave just nine months after he took the job.

Glenn Poshard said in a statement he made the move against Fernando Trevino after consulting with the university's board of trustees, citing "serious concerns brought to my attention by campus and community officials relating to the performance of Dr. Trevino's assigned duties."

Poshard did not elaborate. Poshard spokesman David Gross declined to discuss the matter, saying only that Trevino would be told in writing what issues Poshard has with his performance and let the chancellor respond.

Calls to Trevino's office were directed to university spokesman Rod Sievers, who said "we're just going to wait and see how this plays out."

Interim Provost Don Rice will handle the chancellor's duties during Trevino's absence, which Rice said "will probably continue for several weeks."

Trevino's credentials were "thoroughly vetted," said Peggy Stockdale, the university's Faculty Senate president who helped in the search for the new chancellor.

"I think there was nothing wrong with the search," Stockdale told the [Carbondale] Southern Illinoisan. "The question is whether he has the leadership interest or capacity to deal with the responsibilities of the office."

The university's legal staff have asked campus officials not to discuss specific performance issues, Stockdale said.

The action comes "with deep personal regret, but also with a deeper sense of obligation to the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends" of the Carbondale school, Poshard said.

Trevino has been SIU's chancellor since last July as the successor to Walter Wendler, whom Poshard ousted in November 2006 from the top spot over questions about his management style at the school of about 21,000 students.

SIU's trustees voted unanimously to hire Trevino, the former University of North Texas administrator recommended for the job by Poshard after a nationwide search.

Trevino spent eight years as dean of the School of Public Health at the University of North Texas' Health Science Center in Fort Worth, where he also was a professor of health management and policy.

Trevino's three-year contract at SIU included a $290,000-a-year salary and a $27,500 housing allowance.

When he dismissed Wendler, Poshard said he had tried to build his own administrative team since taking the helm at SIU in January 2006, and eventually became frustrated with the school's enrollment that had remained stagnant since 1996.

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