Research and Education in Illinois

The State of Illinois has withheld $2.2 billion from public universities, according to the bond rating agency Moody’s, since the start of its ongoing budget battles.

States typically subsidize research and education through fiscal appropriations for public universities and financial assistance for college students. Students’ tuition and fees, in other words, only cover some of the cost of their education, and the rest of the costs are covered by states.

Illinois public universities have reduced programs and terminated employees, as reported in the Chicago Tribune. At NEIU, employees have been furloughed again, which means that faculty will have donated two and one-half weeks of income to subsidize the research and education that we’re expected to do for Illinois.

An Open Letter On The Illinois Budget Battles

An Open Letter to Illinois Politicians on the Budget Battles:

My university last year asked for furloughs, which cost me $2,500, and it has recently requested another series of furloughs this spring. The reason, according to my union, is that the university spent $3.5 million for MAP grants in the fall, which had been promised to students by the State of Illinois but were never provided, and another $3.1. million in the spring.

My co-workers and I, in other words, have been asked again to accept pay cuts to compensate for broken promises by the State of Illinois. Moreover, we’ve been asked to cover these costs at a time, we were told, that the State of Illinois has reduced its support of public university education by 54% from 2008-2015, which is the second largest reduction in the nation, and 70% over the past two years. Continue reading “An Open Letter On The Illinois Budget Battles”

Groundhog Day

Illinois politicians have a few days before beginning a second year without a state budget, which means that its public universities are in the same, or worse, situation. While these politicians seem aware of and committed to these universities, they have effectively reduced their state appropriation by seventy percent last year, which has had a negative impact upon these universities. Prospective students and their parents were less likely to consider Illinois public universities, for example, and my university reportedly lost 20 faculty while I lost more than $2,500 of my salary. Such collateral damage will remain long after the budget battles between the Governor and the Legislature are won and lost.

The Times In Which We Live

Almost 2,000 protesters, as the Chicago Police Department reportedly estimated, marched at Northeastern Illinois University Friday morning, and many more filled Loop streets in the afternoon as a coalition of unions, community organizations, and other groups joined together in the 01 April Day of Action.

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Continue reading “The Times In Which We Live”