|RAUNER: Chanting 'Bruuuuce'? Not likely!|
For Thursday was Commencement Day. Some 650 students at the South Side-based state college graduated. They had their moment in cap and gown, their chance to walk across a stage and be handed a diploma. Their ability to saw for now and forever that they are college graduates.
SO WHAT DID they think when they saw that the governor was on the program? That he was to make some opening remarks – which lasted just under two minutes.
He was boo’ed. He was taunted by the crowd at the urban-oriented university. If one goes to the Internet and watches many of the videos that people felt compelled to shoot with their personal devices, then post publicly, one can hear choice obscenities being shouted out at the Bruce who will NEVER be mistaken for Springsteen.
I found one Internet commenter who posted a statement saying she wished the student body had not been so vocally disrespectful. She would have preferred that everybody stand up and turn their backs on the governor while he spoke; similar to what happened earlier this week to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos when she gave a commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Which to me sounds like a lame gesture of pretending not to listen – about as lame as those Chicago Cubs fans who think they’re somehow making a point when they throw back baseballs hit into the Wrigley Field bleachers for home runs by visiting team players.
BUT IT SHOULDN’T shock anybody that people at Chicago State feel contempt for the governor whom they perceive as playing politics with the state funding for their education just to try to undermine the impact that labor unions have within state government.
It probably is true that many of the newly-minted college graduates would love to get some sort of job where they could have the benefits of one of those unions.
Plus there’s the fact that Chicago State’s financial situation is more precarious than any of the other state universities across Illinois whose future status is uncertain due to the budgetary stalemate that has lasted for nearly two state fiscal years and could continue indefinitely.
|In 150 years of existence, one heckled governor|
Chicago State is the college that caters to the urban segment of Chicago and does have an overwhelming African-American enrollment (which is why black politicos often pay special attention to the school and take anything negative as a personal slight).
CHICAGO STATE IS the school that had to lay off several hundred faculty and staff and where there was speculation at one point that they might not be able to complete the 2016-17 academic year.
Which means in one regard, it ought to be regarded as an accomplishment that the school year is now complete and the students got their assorted degrees. It would have been a serious blow if they had paid several years of tuition monies only to have the end result be “no degree.”
If that had happened, a few “boos” would have been the least of hostilities that Rauner would have deservedly received.
In fact, it’s a wonder that Rauner doesn’t get boo’ed and heckled more often whenever he sets foot in places across Illinois – particularly the Chicago-area, where Rauner seems more than willing to engage in tactics meant to stir up resentment in the rest of Illinois to the two-thirds of the state population that calls the Second City and its suburbs home.
SO YES, I feel compelled to say at this time some 30 years after I had my collegiate graduate ritual to offer some congratulations to the newly-minted grads of Chicago State; who at the very least can now say they accomplished something by finishing the process of getting a degree.
In fact, Rauner in his brief comments may have said it best by stating, “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from, what your interests are – if you have a strong education, there is no limit to what you can do.”
I’m sure some conservative ideologues are going to be anxious to bad-mouth those students for their disrespect.
But perhaps Camp Rauner ought to give some thought to trying to figure out why the newly-minted Cougar alumni felt so upset as to taunt the governor, rather than just silently sitting through a dry ritual while awaiting that night’s graduation party!