President Jack Thomas issues letter to University Community

President Thomas has issued a letter to the University Community with regards to the passage Senate Bill 2059 today. This will provide WIU with a small fraction of much needed money. His full address to the community is listed below.

 

Dear University Community,

As you may have heard, Senate Bill 2059 was passed today (April 22) by both the House and the Senate. We have been assured that Gov. Rauner is committed to signing this bill, which provides emergency funding for public higher education. Western’s share of the funding is $14.9 million. In addition, the bill also provides approximately $5 million in MAP funding for WIU. This is compared to our FY’15 appropriation of $51.4 million and MAP funds of $11 million.

We are relieved to have some measure of funding for this fiscal year. While this is but a fraction of our state appropriation, this certainly will help, and we appreciate these emergency funds. This is a step in the right direction. We remain hopeful for additional funding for this fiscal year, and for adequate funding for public higher education.

While we still have a long way to go before this fiscal crisis facing public higher education is over, the passage of this bill provides some reassurance that the state is committed to public higher education. We believe this stop-gap measure will alleviate some concerns that our students and prospective students, and their families, may have about public higher education in the state. WIU will remain open and this funding further solidifies that in August, we will be moving students into our residence halls and engaging students in our classrooms.

It is our hope that the legislators continue their promise and provide adequate funding for higher education for the long term. We thank the legislators for passing this bill to assist with public higher education’s current financial challenges, and we are happy that the Governor has committed to signing the bill.

Again, we are pleased with this measure to provide some level of funding for Fiscal Year 2016. However, this emergency funding does not negate the difficult decisions we recently were forced to make regarding layoffs and furloughs. We will re-examine these recent decisions in the coming days. If additional funding becomes available, there may be an opportunity to recall a select number of employees.

Thank you for your continued dedication and support. Our collective voices have kept public higher education at the forefront in Springfield.

Sincerely,

Jack Thomas
President