In 2017, Western Illinois University’s core expenses amounted to $243 million. While this may seem expensive, it is not much more than what Governor J.B Pritzker contributed to his own campaign last year. Pritzker’s total campaign donations amounted to $172 million. That would cover over 70 percent of WIUs core expenses.
Before becoming governor, Pritzker was a successful businessman and philanthropist who always found money to support worthy causes. In 2015, he donated $100 million to Northwestern’s law school. In 2002 he donated $30 million to the University of Chicago’s medical school. Considering how much money Pritzker spends contributing to his campaign and prestigious institutions with many affluent alumni donors, is it too much to ask him to give WIU a break?
WIU announced last week that it plans to cut 132 positions at both the Macomb and Quad City campuses. This accounts for 8 percent of WIU's total workforce. The university, whose student population consists heavily of minorities and first-generation college students, does not have many wealthy alumni to gift it large sums of money. It is at the mercy of the state of Illinois and Gov. Pritzker for funding.
With our local university in jeopardy, it is more important than ever that our governor remains committed to fighting for quality education for everyone in Illinois.