UIC students, faculty push gov. for more funding

March 8, 2010 2:39:46 PM PST
Teachers and students upset with the lack of education funding from the state are taking their protest to the governor's office.The group of students and teachers from UIC staged a rally at the Thompson Center downtown.

The widely publicized lack of funding from the state is forcing universities all over the state to cut teachers, raise tuition and institute furlough days.

Monday was one of several furlough days for faculty and staff members throughout the state university system. However, members of the UIC community decided, rather than take the day off, they would try to hold a protest and try to get their message out as to what they say is dire need for more public education funding in the state of Illinois.

Approximately 100 faculty members, staff and students filled the lobby of the Thompson Center Monday morning and delivered a letter to representatives from Gov. Pat Quinn's office demanding that the state fork over nearly one-half billion dollars in late payments to the university. That is money that is already owed to the university because the state is behind, due to the massive budget deficit.

Governor Quinn is expected to announce a budget this week that would include an additional 15-percent cut next year for the university, resulting in tuition hikes approaching roughly 25 percent next year.

But the case being made by the UIC faculty and staff for more funding and for a response from the governor's office.

"The state legislature has been cowardly and afraid. They are worried about the next election and not about the future of the state. We are meeting with nearly a dozen state legislators today to seek their help to change that momentum in the state," said Prof. Dick Simpson, UIC political science chair.

"The entire state needs to step up and make some significant changes to deal with the particular crisis that we are dealing with at this time," Gov. Quinn's Deputy Chief of Staff Julie Smith said.

When asked if there was a magical solution, Smith said, "Your guess is as good as mine."

Afterward gathering at the Thompson Center, the group marched over to City Hall and delivered a similar letter to Mayor Daley's office.

On Wednesday, Governor Quinn will give his budget address. ABC7 is told he will include more cuts statewide and more taxes, higher taxes, and no doubt, there will be higher tuition throughout the University of Illinois. That seems impossible to prevent.