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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

It's 'An Outrage' That Chicago State May Have To Shut Down

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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said Wednesday that it's "an outrage that financially troubled Chicago State University may be forced to close. Employees and students are being asked to turn in their keys to campus facilities -- just one example of how the lack of a state budget is affecting higher education in Illinois.

        

The financially troubled university on Chicago's South Side has been at risk of running out of money as public colleges and universities in Illinois have waited since last July for state funding held up by the budget standoff in Springfield.

Notices of potential layoffs were sent in February to all 900 Chicago State employees. University President Thomas Calhoun also eliminated spring break and announced the semester will end April 28.

On Monday, administrator Aleshia Renee Terry asked department chairs to begin collecting keys from faculty, staff, administrators and students "as soon as possible."

Rauner said Wednesday at an unrelated event in Springfield that he's "very upset" that Chicago State may have to close due to financial problems. The governor says there's no excuse for what's going on at Chicago State. He says that "should never happen."

Rauner noted that legislation is pending in the Illinois General Assembly that would help Chicago State and other higher education institutions by freeing more than $160 million of excess special-purpose funds. Rauner says the measure should be called for a vote and passed.

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