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Students, teachers rally at the State Capitol for higher education funding

Hundreds of IFT members, students, and others descended on the State Capitol from all across Illinois yesterday for massive rallies during a higher education day of action.


Now more than ever, the Governor and Illinois colleges and universities need to invest in education and our students' futures. But during the ongoing 10-month budget impasse he created, Governor Rauner has vetoed proposals that would have provided desperately needed funding for higher education and MAP grants for 136,000 needy students.

Students, ordinary families, and communities are paying the highest price for his irresponsible political priorities.

Along with highlighting the importance of funding MAP grants, several of the speakers discussed other consequences resulting from the lack of budget, such as the impact on communities where colleges and universities are located.


^ Catie Witt, the only student representing Eastern Illinois University at the rally, said the Student Action Team wanted to attend but could not as a result of cuts in transportation.


^ University Professionals of Illinois (UPI), IFT Local 4100, President John Miller said colleges and universities can’t wait any longer for the Governor to do his job.
“We have seen our membership be laid off, have furloughs, and have cuts. Just yesterday 110 employees at Western [Illinois] University received layoff notices. Governor, they are on you. We need to fund our future NOW!"


^ Joe Haynes, a senior representing Harper College, encouraged audience members to stand together.

The crowd cheered after each speaker and joined them in chants such as “take MAP back,” and “fund our future, do it now.”

Members of IFT locals, including the University Professionals of Illinois (IFT Local 4100), the Cook County College Teachers Union (IFT Local 1600), the Chicago Teachers Union (IFT Local 1), and others participated in the higher education rally organized by the Invest in Higher Education Coalition, and the morning’s “Springfield Day of Action” event, organized by the Grassroots Collaborative.


The day’s events began with a rally and march to the Governor's mansion. At noon, the crowd moved to a nearby location for a second event.

After the speakers united the crowd, participants emerged from under the tent and made their way back to the Capitol Building where they lobbied for new proposals to temporarily provide funding and make the wealthiest pay their fair share for education and critical programs.


^ IFT President Dan Montgomery spoke to IFT members and participants in the Capitol Rotunda during the rally.




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