WIU advocates trek to Springfield to fight for funding

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois -- Advocates of Western Illinois University traveled down to the Illinois State Capitol to fight for funding after the university slashed programs and laid off staff.

On Thursday, March 14, staff, students and community members made the trek to Springfield to ask lawmakers for support.  What they want is $6 million in emergency funds to support the school, both the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses.

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One professor who was laid off, Carla Paciotto, said she will keep trying to get lawmakers on board to help the university.

"Many programs, because of the financial crisis, have been dismantled that are needed in this region," she said.  "We are depleting the region of young people of economic means."

To prove their point, several not only showed up in person, but they brought a petition filled with more than 6,100 signatures.  The petition also included a request to Governor J.B. Pritzker, asking him to appoint six members to Western's existing Board of Trustees.  The full board should have eight members.

"We need to do our part and make sure they have the tools they need to grow and we haven't done that properly," said Senator Neil Anderson.

"We can't just give them money and say this is going to fix your problems," said Anderson "They have to also show that they have a vision for marketing."

Ultimately, the supporters from WIU said they felt that they had been heard and were hopeful for more change in the future.

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