State senators to answer student’s questions Thursday at open forum
State Senators Paul Schimpf and Dale Fowler will be on campus to answer any political questions from students Friday at an open forum.
Johnathan Flowers, Graduate and Professional Student Council Vice President for Student Affairs, said it is important for students to attend the event because Highway 51 divides the voting districts, meaning that east campus is represented by Fowler and west campus by Schimpf. He also said students are able to effectively voice their concerns for the financial state of the university at the forum as the state senators are legislators that advocate for a state budget.
Illinois public universities have received no appropriation outside of stop-gap funding during the Springfield budget stalemate between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and a Democratic-controlled assembly. Due to the lack of state money, several of SIU’s recent announcements have outlined potential layoffs and the discontinuation of academic programs.
“It’s really important for students to attend to put a human face on the very real damage that the budget stalemate is doing to our state,” Flowers said.
Some of the questions Flowers said students should ask include: ‘when will we see a budget?’; ‘are there are any additional stopgaps planned?’; and ‘are politicians concerned thousands of Illinois students lives and futures are in jeopardy due to the budget impasse?’
Interim director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Jak Tichenor said students should also ask questions regarding reform legislation and job creation.
“We thought it would be a good opportunity for students and community members to meet lawmakers and have an opportunity to hear what their positions are on various issues and get a chance to get to know them,” Tichenor said.
The open forum is 5 p.m. Thursday in the Student Center auditorium and open to both SIU students and members of the community.