Oakton Community College will continue to offer adult education programs in literacy, English as a second language, high school equivalency and more despite operating without its usual state grant due to the Illinois budget crisis, officials say.
The college’s board of trustees approved a measure Jan. 25 to fund adult education for fiscal year 2017 even though Oakton usually receives $1.4 million in state and federal funds for such programs, according to college officials.
“I think it is fortunate that we have the funds to be able to step up and provide this bridge,” said board Chairwoman Ann Tennes.
Officials said the school will use reserve funds to replace grant funding “on a temporary basis” until the state budget situation is resolved.
“The constituents that are served by these programs need the continuation of these services and the opportunities they provide,” Tennes said.
Oakton adult education programs serve about 4,500 students annually and are supported by 16 staff members, eight of whom are fully compensated through grant funding, according to college officials.
“Access to education for adults is fundamental to good citizenry and promotes participation in political, economic, cultural, artistic and scientific life,” said Colette Hands, Oakton’s associate vice president of continuing education, training and workforce development. “We are grateful to the board of trustees for their support and commitment to our students and community.”‘
Oakton officials said the community college, which has campuses in Des Plaines and Skokie and serves residents in Evanston, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Skokie, Niles and other towns, has already adopted cost-reduction strategies in response to the state budget crisis. Among those strategies, they said, are combining class sections, developing additional partnerships and deducting out-of-district travel for professional development. Those strategies will remain in place until state funding returns, they said.
Oakton received its state funding for last fiscal year at the end, said Oakton Director of College Relations Paul Palian.
“(That) allowed Oakton to reimburse itself for the investment in adult education,” he said.
The college is hopeful that the same will happen for this fiscal year, he said.
“Based on past history, (we’re hopeful) that the state dollars and federal pass-through money will once again be distributed to Oakton and other community colleges,” Palian said.
If that doesn’t happen, and the budget crisis lingers on, it’s still uncertain how Oakton would respond next year, he said..
“The college is at the beginning stages of the budget process,” Palian said. “We are hopeful that adult education — and higher education in general — will be priorities when a budget agreement is reached, and that the college will not need to authorize institutional funds to cover the state’s responsibilities.”
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois universities are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s sweeping travel ban that has left some students and professors stranded abroad.
The University of Illinois System put out a statement Monday saying its three campuses are “greatly concerned” about the ban and “strongly recommend that students and scholars who might be affected defer travel outside the U.S.” School officials say they’re working with those affected and offering resources.
University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer says the ban puts “unnecessary restrictions on the flow of talented scholars and students” into the U.S. and damages the school’s ability to “fulfill its highest aspirations.”
Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro says the Evanston school “will take the necessary actions to protect our students, faculty and staff.” He says Northwestern is “committed to being a welcoming and inclusive community.”
Trump’s order sowed more chaos and outrage across the country Sunday, with travelers getting detained at airports, panicked families searching for relatives and protesters marching against the sweeping measure that was blocked by several federal courts.
Attorneys struggled to determine how many people had been affected so far by the rules, which Trump said Saturday were “working out very nicely.”
But critics described widespread confusion and said an untold number of travelers were being held in legal limbo because of ill-defined procedures. Others were released. Lawyers manned tables at New York’s Kennedy Airport to help families whose loved ones had been detained, and some 150 Chicago-area lawyers showed up at O’Hare Airport after getting an email seeking legal assistance for travelers.
“We just simply don’t know how many people there are and where they are,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.
Advocates for travelers say the chaos is likely to continue. The executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, Marielena Hincapie, said “this is just the beginning.”
“We’re really in a crisis mode, a constitutional crisis mode in our country, and we’re going to need everyone,” she said. “This is definitely one of those all-hands-on-deck moments.”
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UPDATED AT 11:10 A.M.
By Julie Wurth and Carol Vorel
URBANA — University of Illinois President Tim Killeen is reassuring international students and faculty that the school is working to protect them in light of President Donald Trump’s executive order limiting immigration.
In a mass email Monday morning to students, faculty and staff, Killeen strongly recommended that students and scholars who might be affected by Trump’s order delay travel outside the U.S. until a fuller assessment is made and legal challenges are resolved.
More than 300 people on the UI’s three campuses are potentially affected, including international students, postdoctoral researchers, visiting scholars and faculty members, Killeen said Monday.
They are legal permanent residents, students or scholars here on educational visas, or those holding dual citizenship with the seven countries on the list (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syria and Yemen). At the Urbana campus, the largest number is from Iran.
Killeen said UI officials worked throughout the weekend with international offices at each campus to ensure they were in contact with all students and scholars who might be affected.
“We’re happy to report that all of them are aware of the situation and are safe,” Killeen told The News-Gazette this morning.
Some faculty travel plans have been “significantly disrupted,” said Executive Vice President Barb Wilson.
“We don’t know of anybody who’s stranded right now or can’t get back to the U.S.,” Wilson said, but some faculty have had to cancel plans to attend conferences or present their research.
“There is a lot of concern and anxiety and consternation in our faculty and student body,” Killeen said.
Of particular concern is the uncertainty about whether the order covers those with green cards, who are legal U.S. residents.
Seven federal judges issued stays on parts of the executive order over the weekend after some legal residents returning to the U.S. were detained at airports, and the Trump administration has tried to clarify it.
“There’s been some mixed messages about that,” Killeen said.
Killeen’s mass mail said the UI is greatly concerned about the negative consequences for members of the university community and their families.
“We’re urging that the order be reconsidered as quickly as possible,” he said.
“We as well as everybody else want to keep our country safe and want to proceed accordingly,” Killeen said. But “these actions speak to the heart and soul of what the University of Illinois system is, as an open educator, globally engaged, and of course committed to welcome all members of the international scholarly community that gets admitted … regardless of faith and ancestry.”
Killeen said university officials are monitoring events closely and working with other universities, national organizations, legal counsel and government officials to protect the UI’s international faculty, visiting scholars and students and ensure they’re aware of the resources available.
They also plan to reach out to the Illlinois congressional delegation to convey the disruption the policy could cause for UI international scholars and their families.
Killeen, who was born in Wales, said the issue is personal to him as a former green-card holder and now naturalized U.S. citizen.
“The U.S. has been such a wonderful country and generous to me personally. I am an immigrant, as is (UI Chicago) Chancellor Michael Amiridis. We feel on a personal basis that the strength of the U.S. is driven strongly by immigration over the decades,” he said.
WSIU’s Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU Leadership Development Program Director Bruce DeRuntz, and Interim STEM Education Research Center Director Harvey Henson about a new grant to help expand the initiative:
WSIU InFocus: SIU Leadership Development Program expansion
CHARLESTON — University officials at Eastern Illinois University are continuing on their path to make more substantial pushes toward improving and bolstering its marketing across the state and surrounding states.
Friday, the Eastern Board of Trustees authorized the purchase of marketing services exceeding no more than $500,000 from an agency or agencies.
The marketing agency or agencies involved will be tasked with helping the university create and brand for itself and nail down the university’s target audience in the Illinois and fringe states, David Glassman, EIU president said.
The outside marketing help will not only help create a brand but also develop print and video materials to go out to specific marketing.
Glassman said while the current EIU marketing department currently does this type of work, the marketing services the university will be getting externally will be on a “grander scale.”
“They will be helping us with making these media buys, these media purchases that will give us the best return on investment,” Glassman said. “When (students) come here, most of them enroll. But, there are a lot of students, high school graduates, across Illinois and Missouri and Indiana that don’t know us.”
Glassman said this additional help marketing the university will go toward fixing that issue. Currently, three are under review. The administration will be deciding between one two or all of them in the coming future.
A bolstered marketing team for the university has been a focus of the university president since he came to the school a couple of years ago. He has mentioned his interest in aligning the university’s marketing resources with other competitors.
Glassman said that often, marketing makes up 1 percent of a school’s budget, however, Eastern’s marketing makes a smaller portion of their budget, even now.
Recommendations made by those involved in the Vitalization Project also called for an increase in marketing resources for the university. Glassman mentioned this as one of the several positive initiatives that have started as a result of the Vitalization Project.
However, university president and Faculty Senate Chair Jemmie Robertson painted different or selective pictures of the Vitalization Project at the board meeting that day.
While Glassman touted the work being done as a result of the recommendations, Robertson pointed out issues faculty have with the specific calls for academic program deletions and how they came to those conclusions.
Criticism around the Vitalization Project, notably from faculty, has been on what academic programs were mentioned for deletion or consolidation in the list of recommendations made and the information they based off of which faculty has claimed was inaccurate.
Robertson addressed philosophy specifically as one program he believed should not be on the chopping block, largely because of its importance to the university. Robertson suggested some money used for recruiting athletics would be better suited toward recruiting for academic programs like philosophy.
Glassman said no one wants philosophy courses to not be taught, however, there is a question of whether there is a need for a major in the field.
Recently, Western Illinois University removed its philosophy major, and philosophy and its future status at the university are currently being reviewed by several parties on campus.
Other actions made at the board meeting:
- Housing and Dining rates for the next school year were increased by 2 percent
- Grant-in-aid fees were increased for the next school year by 2 percent
- Criminology and Criminal Justice major was approved.
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SPRINGFIELD — Although University of Illinois officials say the system’s legal team is still studying the matter, a source in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office said a lawsuit seeking to prevent state workers from being paid without an approved budget would not affect university employees.
“They are not included in this because they are paid by the university,” said an official in the attorney general’s office.
But UI spokesman Tom Hardy said the university system’s legal office is reviewing Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s request, filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court, to stop paying state workers’ salaries until legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner work out a spending plan to end an 18-month budget impasse.
“The U of I system legal office is reviewing the attorney general’s motion and the procedural history of the case to examine how this might impact the U of I,” Hardy said.
The motion filed Thursday asks the St. Clair County Circuit Court to dissolve by Feb. 28 a preliminary injunction that has allowed state workers to be paid even though the Legislature and governor haven’t approved a spending plan.
A six-month “stopgap” budget approved last summer expired on Jan. 1, and, for now, UI employees are being paid out of university funds, not state appropriations.
Madigan’s surprise legal motion was criticized both by employee unions and other state officials.
“Despite all the chaos in state government in the past two years, the people of Illinois have been able to count on state employees being on the job to serve them,” said Anders Lindall of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31. “The last thing Illinois needs is the further instability that blocking state payroll could cause.”
Rauner said he was “deeply disappointed, very upset” by Madigan’s move.
“I hope this is not a direct attempt to cause a crisis to force a shutdown of the government to force another stopgap spending plan — short-term, unbalanced, incomplete — as a step to force a tax hike without any changes to our broken system,” the governor said in Chicago.
Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago and Minority Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont — the Senate leaders who have been negotiating a “grand bargain,” including a budget and a number of other major issues — were more measured in their remarks.
“The Legislature has been involved in very public, delicate negotiations. The timing of this action could create an unnecessary crisis that could derail real compromise,” Radogno said.
“The Senate president has said that there is an urgent need to have a budget and this would appear to add to that sense of urgency,” said Cullerton spokesman John Patterson.