Petition against Bruce Rauner's SIU Graduation speech surfaces - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Petition against Bruce Rauner's SIU Graduation speech surfaces

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (Source: change.org petition) Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (Source: change.org petition)
CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -

Illinois governor Bruce Rauner is set to be a keynote speaker at SIU's Spring of 2015 Graduation, but about 1,500 people have signed a petition against his appearance.

The University invited Gov. Rauner to speak back in January, which was one month before it was revealed his initial budget proposal included a one-third funding slash to higher education.

In recent weeks, university officials discussed the possibility of several research based programs being cut as a result.

The student-created petition uses the term 'a slap in the face' to have the governor speak to a graduating class at a university, months after proposing cuts amounting to $60,000,000 to the same institution.

Despite the petition, university officials and some students say the appearance could end up being a good thing.

"The petition is just one more reason why we should welcome the governor in may." said SIU spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith on Saturday, "Hopefully we can make an impression on him during his visit, reflecting what the cuts mean to our campus."

Some students agree.

"Governor Rauner got put into a tough spot coming in" said SIU student and SIU College of Engineering student government rep. Matt Schmidlin, "it's a double edged sword, meaning that, I think he does have good intentions coming down and actually wanting to see what's going on in the university. I really hope when he comes down, he makes the most of his time - if he still decides to still be the commencement speaker for us - and actually take a look at what might be cut here."

Political analyst David Yepsen has said the Illinois budget has been in need of drastic action since before the governor took office, and even University president Randy Dunn agrees that some cuts will be needed for the benefit of the whole state.

The university plans to honor their invitation to the governor.

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