An open letter to Governor Pat Quinn

Congrats on the new position. You must feel good. And how ’bout that executive mansion, is it nice and warm?

We really hope so, because if you’re going to turn Illinois right-side out, you’re going to need all the rest you can get. You see, our former governor Rod Blagojevich dug our beloved state into a big hole and neglected Illinois’ flagship institution, which we like to call home. Not a good move, if you ask anybody. And now that you’ve taken office, it’s needless to say we’re counting on you to do a better job of taking care of our University and our state than your predecessor ever did.

We know that the budget deficit you’re facing is somewhere around $4 billion. We know that your agencies are poorly staffed. And we know that the people of Illinois have lost most, if not all, of their confidence in the integrity of our government. You’re up against some tough odds and you’ve got one daunting to-do list, but if you want to improve our state’s morale, why not start here at the University where a predominant amount of students are from within the state?

It’s your first week, and it’ll be chaotic, but we nonetheless need you to put the University near the top of your priority list. It sure as heck wasn’t anywhere near there when Blagojevich was in office, and we felt the hard effects of that. Emphasize the importance of higher institutions of learning by actually caring, and you might just win us over.

Be more accountable to the University and show us we can believe in Illinois politics once again. Come to some board meetings, give our University some attention and direction. In recent years, we’ve been in dire need of some tender loving care from the state, and if that persists, who knows what will happen at our University? It’s been enough of a blow to see projects being postponed without any gubernatorial leadership.

It’s time for you to use that new power you’ve got and give us something to go off of, something to give us hope that our University won’t end up in shambles like the state budget. If you have to, become proactive as the University attempts to figure out how to deal with the budget crisis, and help decide where there should be more cuts and where we can get more funding. And, most importantly, when you make us a promise, try not to go back on it, repeatedly.

Decide that investing in capital resources such as the University will be better than spending money on things that aren’t necessary. And in order to do that, you have to give up the political rivalries in Springfield that Blagojevich was all too caught up in.

Our state is in your hands, and so too our school is in your hands. We’d like to say we trust you, but first we’d like to see some action.