Springfield politicians clearly do not care about Chicago State


By Dahleen Glanton, Chicago Tribune

It is clear that politicians in Springfield don’t care about the students at Chicago State University.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan are derailing the dreams of 4,800 young people, the majority of them African-Americans, by blocking their college education.

With no historically black colleges and universities in Illinois, Chicago State is the closest we have to an HBCU. Chicagoans can’t afford to stand by and allow it to be shut down.


Across the country, state colleges and universities with majority black enrollments are regularly under siege. Whenever there’s a budget crisis, they are the first to land on the chopping block. The decision-makers never seem to understand the value of a school that draws mostly low-income students from an urban area.

Schools like Chicago State are labeled as wasteful, poorly run, money-drainers that offer little return on investment. They are expendable and so are their students.

If you have any doubts about Rauner and Madigan’s intentions, consider this:

About 30 percent of Chicago State’s funding, roughly $36 million a year, comes from the state. There are lots of other ways the nearly bankrupt state could put that money to use.

The university has made it clear that unless the General Assembly comes up with some cash soon, the school will run out of operating funds next month. And the only alternative could be shutting its doors.

The financial crisis also has put Chicago State’s accreditation at risk. Without accreditation, the school can’t survive. Its mostly low-income students will lose their federal financial aid. And if they want to transfer, the credits they’ve earned likely will be worthless at another school.

Rauner and Madigan clearly don’t care about that. They won’t even sit down and talk about a possible solution.


It would benefit all of Illinois if the two most powerful politicians in Springfield could agree on a statewide budget and break the stalemate that is in its eighth month. There’s no indication that will happen any time soon.

In the meantime, it would be a great service to the students at Chicago State if the General Assembly could just release some emergency funds. So far, the powers in Springfield haven’t been interested in doing that either.

When Democrats came up with a plan to free up $721 million for community colleges and scholarships for low-income students, Rauner was quick to veto it.


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