Letter From the President

Our message is simple: Solve the impasse

November 10, 2015

Dear students, faculty, staff and friends,

It is easy to think that when government officials determine policy — be it in Chicago, Springfield or Washington, D.C. — that there’s not much we can do to influence that decision-making. Those who ascribe to that belief are wrong.

Last month, I along with the other presidents of Illinois public universities went to Springfield to advocate for students, urging legislative leaders and the governor to solve the current budget impasse that has kept our respective institutions without a state appropriation since July. We held strong to our beliefs that Illinois public higher education is an economic engine and that requiring us to operate without state funding is unsustainable. They listened, and we were encouraged that they understood the difficulties and they are committed to public higher education.

I’ve always believed that joining forces can be far more impactful than working individually. So, when members of the Northeastern community ask me what they can do to help, I refer them to one of these collective efforts that I and the other presidents endorse.

Sign the petition: We’ve created an online petition at change.org that will be sent to the Illinois governor, as well as members of the Illinois State House and Senate. If you haven’t signed the petition yet, you can do so at: www.change.org, with the search: “Protect Higher Education in Illinois”

Contact your legislators: Let those who represent you in the General Assembly know how you feel about this situation. If you don’t know who your state representative or state senator is, you can find out at: http://www.elections.il.gov/districtlocator/addressfinder.aspx. You can find some helpful talking points to make your case here: https://illinois.edu/emailer/files/81838/2015_oct__ipu_budget_talking_points.pdf.

Write a letter: Many local newspapers allow their readers to submit letters to the editor to shed light on a particular issue or topic. Getting your letter published in a newspaper like the Chicago Tribune ([email protected]) or the Chicago Sun-Times ([email protected]) can help give public higher education the attention it deserves.

Stay informed: The budget stalemate between the executive and legislative branches of our state government has been widely publicized. Illinois public higher education must be a priority in this state, and citizens can hold lawmakers accountable by paying attention to how they manage our state.


Thank you for your ongoing support of Northeastern and Illinois public universities.


Sharon Hahs


Northeastern Illinois University

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