Most readers will just have received the email I paste below the break (from the President, via the Chancellor), but I thought it worth flagging as an example where faculty and administration are on the same page. Whatever our differences on other issues, I don't think there's any reason to doubt Glenn Poshard's dedication to making college affordable for all students, or his hard work on this issue, which has been a major theme of his entire time in office. I encourage you to visit the student aid alliance site President Poshard lists below, and sign the petition in defense of student aid programs; I have already done so.
I recently returned from Washington, D.C., at which time I visited numerous congressmen and women on two major issues at stake for higher education, funding for both research and student assistance. I had appointments with several members who sat on appropriations committees which have jurisdiction over higher education appropriations, in the hope that these members could influence members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Supercommittee) to protect both of these needs which are critical to the mission of our university and our country. I expressed my concerns that in the Supercommitee's deliberations to find $1.2 trillion in cuts to the federal budget, that federal research to higher education and student aid be exempted as much as possible from the cuts. We are continuing to work daily on further communications with these members of Congress.
If the Supercommittee has not agreed on a package that meets bipartisan approval, then large across-the-board cuts will be enacted. Maximum efforts must be exacted at this point in time by administration, faculty, staff and students to help protect these universal needs. The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) has launched a public campaign to highlight the importance of preserving student aid. This organization has developed a website, Save Student Aid website, which I would encourage everyone to visit and register your support of this effort.
The link is: http://action.studentaidalliance.org/5371/save-student-aid-statement-support/?src=president
Nearly three-fourths of our students at SIU depend on some form of needs-based assistance and obviously the PELL Grants are critical to our students' success. A previous communiqué from my office asked people to contact their congressmen with regard to the need to protect research funds. I am hopeful that we will continue that effort in earnest.
Thank you for your kind consideration.