Students walkout to end impasse

Students+and+faculty+participating+in+the+walkout+stand+outside+of+Sherman+Hall+in+protest+of+the+10-month+state+budget+impasse%2C+which+has+resulted+in+layoffs+and+funding+reductions+on+Tuesday.
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Students walkout to end impasse

Students and faculty participating in the walkout stand outside of Sherman Hall in protest of the 10-month state budget impasse, which has resulted in layoffs and funding reductions on Tuesday.

Students and faculty participating in the walkout stand outside of Sherman Hall in protest of the 10-month state budget impasse, which has resulted in layoffs and funding reductions on Tuesday.

Mike Frederiksen

Students and faculty participating in the walkout stand outside of Sherman Hall in protest of the 10-month state budget impasse, which has resulted in layoffs and funding reductions on Tuesday.

Mike Frederiksen

Mike Frederiksen

Students and faculty participating in the walkout stand outside of Sherman Hall in protest of the 10-month state budget impasse, which has resulted in layoffs and funding reductions on Tuesday.

Nicholas Ebelhack

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Dozens of students and some professors gathered outside of Morgan Hall at Western Illinois University to express their discontent with the state budget impasse that has led to layoffs and funding reductions for various campus amenities Tuesday morning.

The walkout protest, which started as a class project for a sociology class according to the event’s organizers, began at Morgan Hall, where students convened after “walking out” of their classes. Philosophy major Lisa Barbee gave the opening remarks prior to the march towards the union.

“The SGA President claims that we are using the wrong methods,” Barbee said. “We want him and those who think like him to understand that this is in no way showing that we do not care about higher education.”

Barbee continued, saying that she sees the walkout as a worthwhile effort to demonstrate how students feel about the budget impasse.

“We all pay for our education, and choosing to walk in protest shows that we see how big this problem is. Some may see it as throwing away money, but because we pay for classes, we realize that we want to make a statement that this is a very serious problem and we are willing to make sacrifices.”

The protestors then marched through campus passing by Stipes Hall and Malpass Library before making their way through the parking lot outside of the University Union and down the path towards the flagpole.

At this time, students were encouraged to approach the public forum and speak to the small group. Western’s chapter President of University Professionals of Illinois (UPI), Bill Thompson, spoke to the crowd.

“I want to thank everybody for coming out today for speaking your voice and letting your voice be heard,” Thompson said. “It will be heard by a lot of people later, I’m sending these videos up to Chicago where our union will push them out to all of our brother and sister unions, and also out to the media.”

Thompson then elaborated on how small groups of people can end up having a large influence on their community.

“A very few people can make a very large difference,” Thompson said. “None of that would be happening if you people wouldn’t of come out here and maybe be a little embarrassed because people aren’t out here.”

He then said that while a large amount of students came out in opposition of the walkout, the ones there should be proud of what they have done as the minority.

“You’re the small group while the large group is doing other things, and you should be proud of yourselves,” Thompson said. “It isn’t easy to step out, take that first step, come out into the public and let your voice be heard.

Event organizer and interdisciplinary studies major Ryan Mills made a point about how he appreciated the support regardless of the backlash the walkout organizers had received prior to the event.

“I know we don’t have a lot of people out here and that we don’t have the whole school supporting us, but the fact that all of you are here shows great things about your character,” Mills said. “It’s fantastic.”

 He then said that the purpose of the event was being active in advocating for funding rather than being passive about the situation.

 “We all know that we have insane problems ahead of us, but we know Sherman (Hall) is not to blame, we know it starts in Springfield,” Mills said. “We know today this may not change overnight, but nothing changes overnight, and sitting in class with your head down isn’t going to do anything either. I ask those of you here to continue with this moment, expand on it, grow on it, build on it.”

 The students then marched a second time to Sherman Hall, passing by Mowbray Hall and the Heating Plant Annex along the way. The event organizers gathered on the steps to deliver their
final statements.

 “It always has to start somewhere, and it will start right here, today, with you guys, who were willing to leave class and protest for your higher education,” Mills said.

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