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National AAUP Annual Meeting Resolution on Illinois Higher Education

The following resolution, introduced by the Illinois AAUP conference, was passed unanimously by AAUP members at the National AAUP meeting on June 17, 2017.

The 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Association of University Professors expresses its deep concern about the enormous state budget problems that have devastated higher education in Illinois. For three years, Illinois has failed to pass a budget. Although Illinois’ political failures have harmed many individuals and institutions in the state, colleges and universities have suffered some of the biggest blows, affecting students, faculty, and staff at all levels.

Private and public colleges are imperiled by the loss of student financial aid grants, and these unprecedented budget cuts. General Fund appropriations for higher education fell from $1.95 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2015 to $755 million in FY2016 and $843 million in FY2017. Even without adjusting for inflation, Illinois is spending less today on higher education than it did in 2000, and per-student higher education funding has been cut by 54 percent since 2008. Colleges around Illinois have raised tuition, cut staff jobs and faculty positions, and imposed furloughs and temporary shutdowns. Students are fleeing Illinois, and faculty and staff are losing their jobs because of a political dispute.

The budget impasse began with Governor Bruce Rauner, who demanded approval of his “Turnaround Agenda” that included denying workers the right to choose a union. Although there are other politicians to blame in Illinois, the problem started with Gov. Rauner, and he should have ended the damage to higher education long ago.