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Governor’s irresponsible disregard for students and families threatens college collapse

1/14/2016
WESTMONT, IL — Following correspondence from Governor Rauner’s administration stating again that funding for critical state services – this time, higher education and support for low-income students — would come only if the Governor’s demands were met, Illinois education leaders weighed in.
“One of our state’s greatest strengths and attractions has been our first-class higher education system, and because of Governor Rauner’s irresponsible disregard, those institutions and the students they serve are on the brink of collapse,” said Dan Montgomery, a high school English teacher and President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers. "There are certainly administrative reforms to consider and address together, but making them stringent conditions of funding is unfair to students who don’t know if their colleges or teachers will be there for them next month. It’s unfair to high school seniors and their families who can’t plan for the future and may leave Illinois. It’s unfair to low-income students who will have no options without funding for MAP tuition assistance. Universities will close. These aren't rhetorical situations. This is a real budget emergency created by Governor Rauner alone, and it’s indefensible."

One of the universities in peril is Chicago State University (CSU), the only university in Illinois that serves predominantly African-American students. CSU has been operating off reserves and faces a decision to close or drastically cut staff and programming as early as next month, when those funds will run out.
“It is outrageous that Governor Rauner is ignoring the real possibility of a state institution closing its doors to first generation college students at Chicago State University,” said John Miller, a communication professor at Western Illinois University and President of the University Professionals of Illinois (UPI), IFT Local 4100. “CSU faculty and families feel abandoned by this administration and its complete indifference for the financial crisis being experienced in our communities. When will the Governor realize this isn’t a game and that it’s his job to work toward fixing the problems, instead of holding the entire system hostage?”

The Illinois Federation of Teachers represents 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois’ community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees. University Professionals of Illinois is Local 4100 of the IFT/AFT.

The University Professionals of Illinois, Local 4100 -- along with its affiliates IFT, AFTthe Illinois AFL-CIO, and the national AFL-CIO -- is the recognized leader in academic collective bargaining for higher education in Illinois, representing 3,000 members at the bargaining tables of seven of Illinois’ twelve public universities. These institutions include Chicago State University, Eastern Illinois University, Governor’s State University, Northeastern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, University of Illinois-Springfield, and Western Illinois University.


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