Chicago State University is home to about 4,000 students. It was founded in 1867 on the south side of Chicago on 162 acres of land. It has an impressive list of alumni including politicians, writers, and artists, including Kanye West.
The university has received national attention recently because state budget cuts could cause the school to shut it’s doors for good. Legislators are struggling to come up with a plan and a budget that will keep the 150-year institution open.
After March 1, Chicago State University is expected to run out of funds over a state budget impasse. Illinois, which currently has no budget, is forcing its many public universities and colleges to rely on reserves to help fund student scholarships. While some schools are surviving, others are suffering. Chicago State University President Thomas Calhoun confirmed claims of the school facing closure within the next 30 days if a deal isn’t put in place by legislation. Governor Bruce Rauner recently lashed out at the school’s administration blaming their financial troubles on money mismanagement.
Students and faculty are rallying together to bring awareness to the school’s financial troubles and to get information from legislators. Operation Save CSU is one of the initiatives created by students to keep it’s doors open. Thursday morning, two dozen protesters blocked the Dan Ryan Expressway causing it’s northbound lanes to close. Later that day, protesters blocked a popular ramp were police issued citations. Students expressed the symbolic meaning behind blocking lanes, saying, “It symbolizes state lawmakers blocking our education.”
Chicago state is the former university of rapper Kanye West. The predominately Black college boasts an impressive English department, where West’s mother was the chairman for six years. Rapper Lupe Fiasco recently spoke about the fate of Chicago State University on Twitter, asking his followers, “What are WE going to do?” CSU staff and students are asking for donations and encouraging people to contact Illinois legislators to demand steps toward passing a budget. For more information on how you can help, visit www.csu.edu.