Letters: Tuition discounts keep Illinois universities competitive

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There’s a common refrain at the Capitol this session: We need to make Illinois more competitive. Yet one proposal would make an already challenging environment even more difficult for Illinois public universities to compete for top faculty and student talent.

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House Bill 403 would end the 50 percent tuition discount that children of state university employees receive to go to an Illinois public university. We can’t afford to fund our universities, supporters argue, so why continue this perk for employees?

Yes, employees value this discount. It’s an important part of the compensation package. But it’s about much more than that.

The tuition waiver is a recruiting and retention tool. Andrea DalPolo sees morale plummeting at Governor’s State University as she realizes she can’t pay for her four children to go to college if the waiver disappears and her colleagues also face struggles. Universities bear the brunt of the costs from the tuition discount. But they embrace the waivers, knowing their faculty stay and students come to their campuses because of it.

When we are changing pension and health care plans, slashing funding for our campuses and even talking about turning them into private institutions, we make our neighboring states salivate at the thought of our high-caliber intellectual talent — faculty, staff and students — heading across the borders.

The waivers cost less than $10 million statewide last year and benefitted more than 2,100 students. What will keep these students and their families here without them? We need competitive advantages at Illinois universities, not another hurdle that will send students and faculty elsewhere.

Linda Brookhart, executive director,

State Universities Annuitants Association,


Not from Chicago

In Monday’s paper, a headline said, “Chicago native launches second bid for White House.” Hillary is NOT from Chicago!

Buzzy Cafarelli, Beverly

Good headline

The headline writer who came up with “McRaise” (April 2) deserves a raise of his or her own.

Raymond F. Stoiber, Joliet

Mistreated player

Kris Bryant is upset he isn’t going to the majors because he played so well this spring. He could have hit .800 with 30 home runs and still wouldn’t have made the team.

I blame the Cubs for not telling Bryant before spring training that he wouldn’t be making the team. They shouldn’t have led this kid on, and I think one day it will bite them when Bryant decides to dump them.

Andy Cappellano, Spring Grove

Bad decision

Just when you think you have seen it all as far as the police profession — of which I was a  member for 33 years as a Chicago Police officer — the majority of that time as a active member Of the Fraternal Order Of Police Lodge 7 — comes the decision of the police union to go to court to fight the right of the city’s inspector general to make recommendations to Police Supt. Garry McCarthy in regards to  any disciplinary actions his investigation uncovers against the officers involved in the Koschman cover-up.

From day one, in my opinion, this investigation took on the buzz words “alleged investigations” both by the state’s attorney’s office and several of my cop brothers in blue. For over 10 years and two investigations, those two departments failed to bring justice to a case that had such a stench it has tarnished a department that has the motto, “We Serve And Protect.”

A grand jury called by Judge Michael Toomin and undertaken by attorney Dan Webb led to a guilty plea in a case that just keeps on shaming those who were involved in what turned out to be an obvious cover-up to protect a relative of our sitting mayor or a department that was so incompetent that two Sun-Times reporters had to do the job they were sworn to do. In the end, it was the light of day that brought justice to an investigation that screamed out for it.

Now comes the news that the city has recommended a settlement of $250,000 to Nanci Koschman, mother of the victim David, and with it word from the city corporation counsel that city Inspector General Joe Ferguson is investigating and may make disciplinary recommendations against the officers involved in the investigations. Enter the FOP arguing that only the Internal Affairs investigators have that authority.

My question to the FOP is this: What in God’s name are you doing? We need to have you explain what your reasoning is. We serve and protect who? Union members who may have been involved in a cover-up. The people of Chicago who deserve more from people they call “Chicago’s Finest.” This city and its citizens have had enough and we need to know the truth. Obstructing it any further in any manner is just simply not tolerable.

Bob Angone, South Loop

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