Thursday, July 14, 2016

I think it's time to put this blog to bed again. Indeed, I drafted this ten days ago, before a recent trip, and have left it sitting unpublished for that long, so this is really just a case of waking up only to go to sleep again. As the old hospital joke goes: wake up, it's time to take your sleeping pill.

As I remarked in a little colloquy on a previous post with Tony Williams, commentator extraordinaire, this is a tougher crisis to deal with. Last time around we had targets ready to hand. I'm reminded, perhaps unjustifiably, of the poem by Cavafy which ends

And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

This isn't to deny that Cheng was a horrible Chancellor, nor is it to say that Rauner and Madigan aren't barbarous in their way, only that the larger context that's made it possible for folks like them to do this much damage strikes me as the real problem.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Update on Higher Ed in stopgap from UPI

After the break an update, which I've lifted from the EIU union's facebook page, on higher ed's status in the latest stopgap funding negotiations. John Miller is president of the statewide UPI (the AFT unions representing EIU, WIU, CSU, NEIU, and UIC--and I may have missed others). Apologies if formatting has been lost in the cut and paste process. A quick summary: if the current bill passes, this would keep the doors open through the fall but won't do any more than that. Lack of full MAP funding and a full year's budget will not do much to reverse the trend of Illinois students heading out of state.

Other stories on the apparent progress toward a stopgap budget can be found at the State Journal-Register and Southern.

Happy Ending for Illinois?

The Daily Show has broadcast a Guide to Success in Illinois, as part of its Happy Endings series. Check out this vital information here. (Not the best Daily Show segment, but it is topical.)

On the more serious side, it's possible, again, that the GA and Rauner may agree on something. Not an ending, but if it is not beginning of the end, perhaps it is the end of the beginning, as I believe may have been said before. Capitol Fax has this on the outline of a deal--a deal that would apparently mean some stopgap funding for universities. If things don't fall apart, again.

FA and SIU admin reach framework agreement on new contract

One of the advantages to having fewer readers this time around is that I don't have to worry too much about blabbing about what may in some sense be inside information. (And given that I myself seem to be losing interest in this blog, anyone still reading deserves some news.) So I'll report, briefly, what I learned from FA President Rachel Stocking this afternoon. She was briefing me because I'm to take over her job come fall.

The FA bargaining team and administration have reached a framework agreement on a new contract. Final language must still be drafted on many items, and once there's agreement on the language the contract will be submitted to the FA's DRC (Departmental Representative Council) and then (unless the DRC disagrees) to the full membership for a vote.

I'm not on the FA bargaining team, so I don't know every last detail of the negotiations, and I don't want to completely step on what I expect to be a more official announcement from the FA before too long. But here are the highlights that I'm aware of.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Southern covers SIUC report

Today's Southern has a pretty meaty summary of the recent Simon Public Policy Institute study on Illinois politics, including a link to the full study and a link to a related conversation on WDBX.

The most intriguing thing in the article, which arises from the WDBX conversation, is an effort to compare the gun violence/gun control impasse with that regarding the Illinois budget.

My initial reaction was to say that comparison isn't very telling. After all, one side, the NRA, is pretty much having its way by ensuring we all have the right to buy assault rifles, even if we are not allowed to get on an airplane because we're on a terrorist watch list. In Illinois, on the other hand, neither Rauner nor Madigan is getting what they want, at least if Madigan wants social services and education funded and Rauner wants pro-business reforms. But . . .