In response to the Editor’s Note on Monetary Award Program grants

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In response to the Editor’s Note on Monetary Award Program grants

By Letter to the Editor, by Jim Nagle

Dear Editor,

Thanks to Kyra Senese (Columbia Chronicle, Editor’s Note, Feb. 1, 2016) for highlighting the crisis in MAP (Monetary Award Program) funding for Illinois college students.

More than 130,000 students across Illinois, including almost 2,000 at Columbia, have been denied promised money due to Gov. [Bruce] Rauner’s refusal to sign a state budget.  Universities have begun to plan cuts in faculty and staff, and one, Chicago State University, faces closure in March.

Rauner insists on attaching poison pill provisions to the budget which would, among other things, take away collective bargaining rights from teachers and other public employees.  These rights have been written into law for more than 30 years, and the governor’s disagreement with them is a poor reason to hold hostage MAP funds and many other programs the people of our state need and deserve.

The Illinois Education Association and other unions have mobilized on behalf of students.  IEA has:

1. Helped initiate and participated in two coalitions: one a union coalition with IFT ([Illinois] Federation of Teachers); another broader coalition initiated by the University of Illinois [at] Chicago to invest in higher education.

2. Collected 15,000 postcards so far to send to Rauner and key legislators urging them to Fund MAP

3. Held statewide press conferences concerning funding, including higher education and MAP.

4. Supported SB2403 and the equivalent House version requiring the release of MAP funding by the governor.

Teachers, staff and students must make our voices heard in Springfield, [Illinois] before it is too late to reverse the damage to higher education in Illinois.

For more information, visit Facebook.com/FundOurFutureIllinois.

Jim Nagle 

Adjunct professor, English Department 

Columbia Adjuncts United

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