Learning From Losses

President Trump’s mid-term election characterizations — “Big Victory” and “very Big Win” and “great Midterm Election” — are disingenuous at best, but the bigger loss, I believe, was their lost opportunity.

The Republicans did win two to four U.S. Senate seats but did so with what has been called the most favorable Republican Senate election map as a result of redistricting, gerrymandering, and population shifts in over 100 years, but they lost control of half of the legislative branch. Moreover, the number of Republican women will likely decrease even as the number of women in Congress increased by at least ten. Even state-level results are mixed at best where Republicans won some important governor races, such as Florida and Ohio, but flipped none while losing at least seven, such as Wisconsin, Kansas, and Illinois. Continue reading “Learning From Losses”

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”