Morris to host budget cut rally

By Sam Beard, @SamBeard_DE

A rally against Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget cuts is scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday in front of Morris Library.

It has been organized by the four unions on campus, with cooperation from student government and others throughout the university. 

The protest comes in the wake of the governor’s proposed cuts to social services, which would slash $62 million from the SIU system — including $44 million from the Carbondale campus.

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“The point of this rally isn’t to blame anyone,” organizer Johnathan Flowers said. “The point of this rally is to say: ‘If this happens, then all of these people will suffer.’”

If passed, these cuts would create a  domino effect across the university and Carbondale in general, said Flowers, a doctoral candidate in philosophy from Oak Park.

The proposed reduction in state appropriations, if passed, would return state funding to a level last seen in the mid-1980s, University Spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith said.

“My big issue with the budget cuts is the way that it is forcing the erosion of the university’s educational mission and the support structures that enable that mission to continue successfully,” Flowers said.

In addition to impeding the university’s academic and research missions, student affordability and SIU’s service to the region would be drastically affected if the governor’s budget gets passed, Goldsmith said.

Newly elected Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry said he will be speaking at the event shortly after it begins.

“We support the rights of faculty, staff, students and others to express their opinions as individuals in multiple formats and ways, as long as they are civil and respectful,” Goldsmith said. “By its nature, the university is a place where all voices should have the opportunity to be heard.”

The aim of the event is to demonstrate the SIU community’s opposition to the proposed cuts and how they would be a serious blow to the university and the southern Illinois community, Flowers said.

“It’s your lives on the line, it’s your education,” Flowers said. “If students are concerned about this, we need to speak up.”

Sam Beard can be reached at [email protected]

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