The Fall of the Land of Lincoln

Although I was born is Chicago, Illinois my family moved back to Southern Illinois when I was five years old.  We moved to Eldorado, Illinois where I attended both Grade School and High School.  My first encounter with Southern Illinois University came when Theatre students came from the Carbondale Campus and performed a Play for our little school…probably about the time I was in first or second grade.  I was awe struck with the performers talent and skill and their beautiful singing.  It must have been a musical.  I determined at that very young age that SIU must be a very special place indeed!

Later it was my good fortune to be employed at SIU in Carbondale.  As I watched many first generation college students have their lives changed by the transforming miracle of higher education…I experienced my life changing as well!

I observed first hand the open door of opportunity to all peoples and all races with equal access to obtain what… not long ago… was only was available to royalty…the rich…and those privileged by birth.

I witnessed many students in  wheel chairs …the deaf…those whose challenges met with only closed doors in society…come through the wide doors of opportunity at Southern Illinois University!

Could it really be true that educational possibility was available to all peoples and not just the wealthy upper class?

Last week we were shocked to hear that our beloved Junior College John A. Logan  was laying off 55 of its’ faculty and staff.  My son has a friend who received a lay off notice after seventeen years of service.  John A. Logan is a nationally recognized Junior College.

Yesterday we were appalled by the news that if the Governor of Illinois’ projected budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1st, holds, the Southern Illinois University system’s budget will be cut by:

SIUC – $22.856 million

SIUE – $14.074 million

School of Medicine – $8.799 million

System – $807,000

The budget reductions for next fiscal year come on the heels of an unprecedented “no budget” for this fiscal year that began July 1, 2015.  Yes, there has been no state money for state schools for over eight months…with no end in sight!  Many believe that there will be no state budget prior to the November elections.

Included in the draconian results of Southern Illinois University’s reduced budget for next fiscal year are according to the SIU System Connection:

“-The elimination of 180 faculty, Administrative Professional, and Civil Service Staff-

-Eliminates academic programs, reduces more than 400 classes, and increases time to  graduation-

-Reduces support services for students, particularly underrepresented populations-

-Reduces student employment that helps students pay for their own educational expenses-

-Merge four colleges into two colleges-

-Reduction of hours at Morris Library-the building will be closed up to 28 hours per week, including all day Saturday-”

Recently Chicago State University sent 900 lay off notices…their entire faculty and staff, due to the democratic senate and house not being able to agree on a budget with our republican governor.

Eastern Illinois University laid off 198 staff members in February due to there being no state budget.

Western Illinois University projects at least a lay off of 50 staff due to there being no state budget.

Our democratic House of Representatives is currently on a months’ recess.

Our Governor will escort, Friday, Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz to a Chicago fundraiser honoring the Governor where tickets begin at $500.00 apiece and going up to $40 thousand dollars to be deemed a Gold Sponsor which includes a photo opportunity and  a one year membership in the “Governor’s Council.”

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8 responses

  1. Argh.

    I want to be able to say more, but really … “argh” is what I’ve got reading this, especially so soon after reading about significant tuition hikes at my alma mater. Those hikes may be immaterial to those fairly well to do, but for folks from my childhood income bracket, they’re the death knell to their higher education experience.

    What future can we make when we don’t invest in the future?

  2. Draconian indeed! Very sad and can only hope there is light somewhere at the end of the election tunnel.

    1. Thank you my friend. We must always seek the light.

  3. Sorry to read this! Sad indeed. 😢

    1. It is so sad. Perhaps our politicians will finally come to their senses and do what is right for the people who elected them.

  4. It is difficult for a country to flourish, especially a democracy, if it’s people are not educated. Truly sad news for Illinois and America.

    1. It is sad indeed. Many states are diminishing their financial support for higher education. The availability of higher education for all is truly our best hope for a secure future.

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