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WIU Advocates for Higher Education: Statewide Events, Initiatives Planned

12141001_10154340318853957_1614343680634379315_oMACOMB, IL — Higher education in Illinois remains at a crossroad. While Fiscal Year 2016 is well underway, there is still no state budget, yet the state’s nine public Illinois universities continue to educate more than 200,000 students who are the state’s future leaders.

As the state budget impasse continues, public university students, employees and alumni, along with many other state employees, are organizing events and petitions, urging the governor and the state legislature to agree on, and pass, a fair budget for the State of Illinois.

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, Western Illinois University students will join other public university students in Springfield for Student Advocacy Day to speak with legislators about the importance of a higher education budget and to lobby for support for higher education. WIU Student Government Association President Wil Gradle urges students to attend to make Western’s voice heard loud and clear. Buses, which are being sponsored by Durham Bus Service and the City of Macomb, will depart from Q-Lot at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 20 and return approximately 4:30 p.m. Advance registration is required. To register, visit http://goo.gl/forms/97zsWr6PFv.

“As the president of the WIU Student Government Association, I encourage as many of my fellow students to join me and other public university students in Springfield to stress the need for a state budget that supports higher education,” Gradle noted.

Also on Oct. 20, WIU President Jack Thomas, along with other university presidents, will meet with legislative leaders, and on Thursday, Oct. 22, the presidents will meet with Gov. Bruce Rauner.

WIU faculty, staff and alumni can help keep Western, and higher education, at the forefront of budget discussions, and in urging the governor and state legislators to pass a balanced budget. On Monday, Oct. 19, alumni, students, faculty and staff can participate in a statewide “Light Up the Lines” event, in which individuals affiliated with the state’s nine public universities can participate in a mass call-in on that day to legislators to urge them to act for the good of their constituents and for the state’s future.

“This impasse is affecting our students, our campuses and our communities. Our public universities are crucial to our respective regions’ economic development, and to our state’s future,” said Thomas. “We need to keep a fair, and balanced, higher education budget for Western Illinois University and other state universities in front of the governor and our legislators.”

WIU alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students are also encouraged to sign a statewide petition at http://tinyurl.com/p9uqgcj. These efforts can also be reinforced by writing letters in support of public higher education to the editor of local newspapers.

“Western Illinois University is grateful for your time and support,” Thomas added.

By: Office of University Relations, WIU News, U-relations@wiu.edu

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