Column: Students should voice their opinions

Chris Picazo, Opinions Editor

Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Eastern News featured a letter to the editor from Professor Fern Kory discussing the lack of a state budget in Illinois and unfunded MAP Grants that help college students pay to attend school.

She ended the letter by saying we should let Gov. Rauner know we are tired of waiting for a budget to pass as higher education in Illinois continues to suffer.

Professor Kory is right. We cannot continue to just wait for something that could take months or potentially longer to happen.

Rauner has shown that he does not care about students, and this might be because not enough of students have expressed to Rauner that we are upset about is happening.

Students can complain all they want on social media, but is that really going to do anything? What are the chances Rauner is going to see your Facebook post or tweet complaining about what is wrong with the state of Illinois? The odds do not seem good.

It is our obligation as students to let our state representatives, senators and governor know how we truly about the issues, or we will continued to be ignored.

Illinois will be entering its eighth month without a budget on Monday, and public universities in Illinois are taking damage.

Chicago State University has already said that it does not have funds to pay for operational costs after March 1.  This could lead to the possible closing of the university.

There actually students wondering if they’ll be able to finish the semester or even graduate? Students should not have to wonder if their university will be open for them to finish a semester.

On Monday, Western Illinois University’s Board of Trustees approved a staff reduction through June 30, 2017.  The staff cuts come from the continuing cost increases and unfunded state mandates, according to the press release on Western’s website.

President Glassman even announced that more layoffs could be coming to Eastern in March if state funding does not come through soon.

While Illinois public universities are suffering, Rauner just hired a new chief-of-staff for his wife that is being put on the state payroll for a hefty $100,000.

Hiring this person is completely unnecessary and could not come at worse time.

This hiring comes at a time when Rauner criticized the spending habits of universities and said universities should not be so wasteful in hiring unneeded administration.

Is that not what Rauner just did in hiring a completely unnecessary staff member for his wife?

As students, we should be voicing our opinion to Rauner by sending him letters and calling his office as often as we can. It might not rush the process to getting a budget approved, but we are using our right to speak out and voice our opinions.

If we just sit around and continue to complain to each other about the budget, Rauner will not care, and he’ll continue to ignore students.

Waiting for a budget and doing nothing about the issue is not something we should be doing. We have every right to contact Rauner, and other representatives for that matter, to voice our opinions. So why don’t we?

Chris Picazo is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].