Saturday, March 26, 2016

Speaking up for public higher education

I'm slowly becoming aware of various groups which are actively speaking up about the budget crisis locally and statewide. This is heartening news. I've already posted links to these groups, but they deserve highlighting.

The GA United website has been quite active, as has the SIUC Faculty Association Facebook site. The Speak For Illinois group aims to unite local folks (including JALC and SIUC) to advocate for a state budget, with emphasis on higher education; they held a "Town Hall Meeting" today. I'll give a brief report on it in my next post.

Statewide, the Students, Staff, and Faculty of Illinois Higher Education (also Facebook) need a shorter name, but is quite active, with special emphasis on CSU and EIU.

Finally, the "I Need a Budget Because . . . " Facebook page posts great photos of SIU students giving their own stories. This is really moving stuff.

". . . because first generation college students deserve a chance."


  1. I was thinking this morning that we need to be spearheading a letters to the editor campaign targeting such legislators as SIUC's own Terri Bryant. We need to let our neighbors know the harm that will be done to our community without a budget.

    1. I wrote Terri Bryant a few weeks ago. She did not even reply. It is time to work for her replacement. Her opponent is Marsha Griffin. Check out:

      -Mike Sullivan

  2. I'm glad to see that I'm not alone in reading Dave's much needed and appropriately resurrected (in view of this weekend!) Web Site. But Web Sites are not enough. More activism needs to be done especially by the SIUC Faculty Union. Otherwise, Rita's ostritch logo may be more relevant now than it was in the past. The past two issues of NIGHTLIFE have contained editorials criticizing such inactivity, something that SIUC administrators will consider when planning their imminent round of layoffs. Also remember how a particular charlatan used Town Hall meetings to his advantage to con his way into a particular Office. Nothing was achieved there.

  3. Anonymous, I agree completely; letters to the editor would be an excellent idea. So too letters directly to leaders.

    Tony, web sites certainly aren't enough. Should the FA be doing more? Well, I've responded to that in an earlier comment--a few people are doing all they can for the FA. I'm pretty sure there is no "passivity" strategy, though of course we can differ about tactics and what counts as activism. I'm sure the FA leadership would welcome more help and the FA would be more active were constructive help forthcoming.

  4. Anon. As Harry Belafonte and Cornell West responded to Obama's "C'mon guys, give me a break" - "We have!" It has been long enough and I've heard on good authority from one FA member (who shows both activism and integrity) that there is widespread apathy in its ranks. Why should the FA need "help"? Do they believe they are already on a sinking ship? They signed a contract to represent ALL faculty and so far have DONE nothing. Do I see a hint of Samuel Gompers, Walter Citrine, and Alf Robens (the last two future Lords)in this attitude? As much as the photo in this column is poignant it evokes Oliver Twist's "Please sir, can I have some more?" If you know the novel you know what reaction this provoked. A reading of Jack London's THE IRON HEEL would prove more instructive with the lesson that nothing is achieved without active struggle against oppressors. Remember the FA has a record of former leaders using it to gain administrative experience and becoming oppressors. Constructive help depends on whether they deserve it but they are supposed to be the body representing a membership now under dire threat and should be acting in the interests of its members as well as the NTT faculty and graduate students who supported them five years ago.


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