Daily Egyptian

SIU student leaders to host town hall meeting with Illinois senator

Daily Egyptian file photo

Daily Egyptian file photo

By Marnie Leonard

Of seven Illinois lawmakers invited by SIU students to talk about higher education funding, only one senator is making the trip.

The Graduate and Professional Student Council and Undergraduate Student Government invited local legislators to visit the campus for a question and answer session regarding higher education issues in Illinois. Sen. Pat McGuire, the chairman of the Illinois higher education committee, was the only lawmaker to confirm the appointment, according to student leaders.

The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Guyon Auditorium.

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Willie Lyles, GPSC’s vice president of administrative affairs, said the council reached out to lawmakers about a month before the event. He said the lack of response implies higher education is not a top priority for area legislators.

“That’s unfortunate because, for me and for GPSC, we see strong state support for higher education as an investment in the future of Illinois,” Lyles said.

Invitees from area districts who could not attend include senators Gary Forby, David Luechtefeld and Andy Manar, and representatives Terri Bryant, Brandon Phelps, John Bradley and Jerry Costello.

Most of the politicians cited scheduling conflicts as their reason for not coming to the meeting, Lyles said.

GPSC is in the process of planning a “day of action” in response to the lawmakers non-attendance. This will likely involve members of GPSC paying visits to the legislators in their district offices across the state, Lyles said.

“If our delegation won’t come to us, we’ll go to them,” he said.

Staff writer Marnie Leonard can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @marsuzleo.

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