Killeen, peers urge Rauner to end budget impasse

President Timothy Killeen speaks to media, alongside Acting Chancellor Barbara Wilson (left) the pair released a statement in support of students and faculty affected by the immigration ban.

By Daily Illini Staff Report

October marks the fourth month without a state budget.

University President Timothy Killeen acknowledged the lack of a budget in a massmail Wednesday and informed the community about a letter he and nine other university presidents wrote to Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois politicians.

In the massmail Killeen stated the letter was sent to urge Illinois legislators to “end the impasse before it does serious harm to the public higher education campuses that are vital to the state’s future.”

Killeen and his peers at other universities requested personal meetings with Rauner, to present solutions and explain the need for funding.

In the massmail Killeen stated the University has been able to maintain operations “through efficiencies and careful financial management” and affirmed that the University will follow through on all commitments to employees and vendors.

However, Killeen wrote, the current system of operating is not sustainable for the long term. The University has already accumulated “significant vouchers for traditionally eligible expenses” that cannot be submitted for reimbursement. As the letter states, the University is not the only public college suffering.

“Collectively, our state’s public universities are large-scale incubators of the highly skilled workforce and groundbreaking innovation that are central to prosperity and economic growth in the 21st century,” he wrote. “But the funding lapse poses threats for both the current academic year and for our future.”

Kileen said University administrators and their counterparts throughout the state will increase advocacy efforts such as meeting with legislators in Springfield and getting students, faculty, staff and alumni involved in a push to make the value of higher education known.

“I want to assure you that the University of Illinois will continue to do whatever it takes to maintain, preserve and extend our reputation for excellence during this period of budgetary uncertainty and stress,” he wrote.

A copy of the presidents’ letter to Rauner can be found here.