There is a beautiful hymn that goes in part: "Order my steps in your word, Dear Lord. Lead me, guide me, every day. Send your anointing, Father, I pray. Order my steps in your Word." (With respect to the late Glenn Burleigh, who wrote "Order My Steps".)
It is time. It is time to let go of stubbornness and obstinacy. It is time for justice for the people of Illinois, who value higher education. Chicago State University has given tens of thousands of students an opportunity and proven path to self-sufficiency. It is a university worthy of support, funding, and a personal visit by any and every citizen who wishes to learn of the true meaning of higher education as the frontier of American democracy.
It is time. It is time for you and our legislators to pass a budget that funds higher education in the State of Illinois - and for all those institutions and processes not yet funded. It is time. With respect to higher education, our students deserve nothing less. And they deserve much more.
"Humbly I ask Thee, teach me Your will, While You are working, Help me be still. Satan is busy, God is Real, Order my steps in Your Word. Please order my steps in Your Word."
I wish you'd visit our university and see for yourselves the loss that attends continued inaction. What a tragedy! What a monstrous injustice is at work now, my dear gentleman! Do you have the courage to step down from your lofty places and engage the people whose lives depend on your work as yet uncompleted?
Illinois wants to achieve some audacious goals for educating adults in the first quarter of this 21st century. What should be a century of greatness will never occur should the budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 be held hostage to political contests for power.
A Ghost from a Dickens novel should appear to warn you: "There will be no turnaround! There will be no Democratic victory! There will be no fundamental change in Illinois's fiscal and economic stability absent compromise!" When neither party nor branch of government has hegemony, ideologues hold people hostage. While you may mean to do nothing but good, your standing by harms real people, real legacies, real traditions, and real, proven, and effective institutions that conduce to the common good and public welfare. From where do you come to wreak such havoc by your seeming unwillingness to do what common sense requires?
We should not imitate the politics of defective and dysfunctional cities, states and nations. We should not invite invidious comparisons. We are a state in stasis borne of a lack of political will and realism. You are stuck and stung by false pride that uses campaigns for principles and power to mask inaction. Hold yourselves safe and free from blame, but can you watch who is hurt? How can you be at peace with yourselves? Lord, Have Mercy.
Millions of Illinois citizens of all ages, races, creeds and conditions need your action. Attach requirements for fiscal accountability and reform. Increase requirements for transparency and alignment of budgeting, revenues, and state expectations. But don't fail to uphold our institutions of higher learning and opportunity.
What does it mean for a public university to operate without a cent of state funding? It is a violation of the fundamental responsibility and constitutional oaths of office of all lawmakers who have the responsibility and duty to act. To put your political platforms above the needs of the people of this state places your own interests at variance with those of the people.
To use or permit the media and the corridors of power to scapegoat higher education in the name of principles and ideals turns those very good intentions into grails of falsity and damnation. To allow scapegoating to continue and leave universities twisting in the wind is an abdication of authority. The purpose of government is to uphold the common weal. There is nothing at present forthcoming from you that demonstrates you've discharged your duties to the people of this state with respect to higher education.
The truth is quite simple. You have it within your power to solve the problem created by your collective inaction. Pray attend to it with dispatch. You may have laudable ends in view, but your means of action have failed miserably.
Next year, the great Chicago State University will turn 150 years old. I invite you to show honor and respect to your predecessors and to those who will follow in your offices by upholding this institution (and all of her sisters) that forms part of the bedrock of the people of the State of Illinois. We share in a great mission, and you have a key role to play in its continuation.
"I want to walk worthy, my calling to fulfill. Please order my steps Lord, and I'll do Your blessed will. The world is ever changing. But [Love] always remains the same. But You are still the same. If You order my steps, I'll praise Your name."
I know that you have the ability to change. I believe that you have the Soul with which to understand its importance. I pray that you not delay any more the completion of your duty.
These opinions represent my own and are not an official statement on behalf of Chicago State University, its administration, faculty, staff, students, alumni or the Board of Trustees. I do love Chicago State University.