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Higher ed members, students rally in Springfield to demand that Rauner do his job

4/27/2017
Frustrated by the Governor’s recent political campaigning as colleges and universities struggle to stay afloat under his nearly two-year budget impasse, IFT members, students, and supporters around the state took to the streets – and the state Capitol rotunda – today to call on Rauner to fund higher education.
 
Hundreds of faculty and staff from the University Professionals of Illinois (UPI), Local 4100, rallied at Eastern Illinois and Northeastern Illinois universities in the morning before boarding buses to join other union members and conduct a “teach out” and rally in Springfield.
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The Capitol rotunda was filled with faculty conducting mini-classes about the impact of the budget impasse.
(Photo courtesy of Heartland Community College student James Tanner)


During the morning "teach out" in the Capitol rotunda, professors held mini classes about the importance of Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) funding, the need for new revenue, and the impact of Rauner's budget crisis on campuses and communities.

The protest moved outside in the afternoon, where participants rallied in front of the Capitol, chanting “Do your job!” “Rauner’s gotta go!” and “Fund our future!”
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Watch the entire Facebook Live video of the rally here:



Among the speakers were IFT President Dan Montgomery, Rep. Chris Welch, Rep. Katie Stuart, and elected officials and supporters.

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IFT President Dan Montgomery addresses the crowd in front of the Capitol.

“He’s destroying higher education in the state of Illinois singlehandedly,” Montgomery told the fired-up rally goers. “Today, what you are doing is fighting for the future of Illinois…there is no future in this state without higher education. And there is no future in the state of Illinois that includes Bruce Rauner!
 
“Who is going to get us out of this?” he asked. “We are!” shouted the crowd.
 
Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls also attended and spoke out. J.B. Pritzker insisted that, “There’s only one state worker I want to put out of work, and that’s Bruce Rauner!” State Senator Daniel Biss asked the crowd, “Who thinks Bruce Rauner is doing a great job? I can tell you who. Universities in Wisconsin, and Iowa, and Indiana, and Missouri, they think Bruce Rauner is doing a great job – sending our young people out of Illinois.”
 
Students called attention to the damage that Rauner inflicted on their schools and communities with a 32 percent cut to higher education, lack of a budget, and the defunding of the MAP grants that allow them to pursue a higher education. UPI President John Miller placed the blame squarely where it belongs - on Governor Rauner.
 
“Last year, more than 150,000 students eligible for MAP grants were turned away due to Governor Rauner’s vetoes,” said Miller. “These students rely on this help to fulfill their college dreams. Parents’ wealth should not determine students’ opportunities. We stand with our students today to tell the governor, ‘enough is enough’ – pass a budget and fully fund higher education.”
 
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UPI President John Miller places the blame for the crisis where it belongs - on Rauner. (Photo courtesy of Heartland Community College student Bree Lehnen)


Higher education locals and supporters across Illinois amplified today’s call for funding by posting on social media (#TeachOutIL, #RaunerDoYourJob, #FundOurFuture) and holding campus events. In addition to the IFT and UPI, “Teach Out” partners included: Cook County College Teachers Union (1600), UIC United Faculty (Local 6456), UIC Graduate Employees Organization (Local 6297), Illinois Education Association, Responsible Budget Coalition, Chicago Jobs with Justice, Citizen Action Illinois, AFSCME Council 31, and other labor and progressive groups.
 
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Cook County College Teachers Union members join the "Teach Out" and rally.

 
The statewide rallies and Teach Out come on the heels of Tuesday’s march in Springfield for women’s rights and a progressive agenda, as well as the spring break shut down at NEIU and this week’s announcement that a record five Illinois universities have reached “junk bond” status.

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UIC United Faculty members march and leaflet commuters at a train station
near campus asking for support for full higher education funding.

 
Today’s calls for adequate funding and a balanced budget will be amplified on Monday, May 1st, when IFT members statewide join the nationwide call for “The Future Our Students Deserve,” which includes high-quality schools at every level. The governor's budget impasse is causing serious harm to PreK-12 schools as well. The state owes many millions of dollars in categorical funding, which provides special education, transportation, and other essential services, to hundreds of districts.
 
Stay tuned for coverage of the May 1st Day of Action, sponsored by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS).

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