Rev. Jesse Jackson blasts Rauner after Chicago State layoffs

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CHICAGO – The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Saturday that Chicago State students and faculty have been deceived and betrayed by Gov. Rauner, who showed racial insensitivity in the school's recent layoffs.

Chicago State University cut 300 employees from every area of campus in order to save 40 percent in payroll costs. The school has gone the entire academic year without state funding, as lawmakers have not agreed on the terms of a budget. Though they did OK more than $20 million in emergency money for Chicago State last week, it was far less than what was needed.

On Thursday Jackson delivered a commencement address and celebrated with 900 new Chicago State graduates. On Saturday, however, his mood was mournful. The 150-year-old largely African-American school on the Far South Side has been forced to lay off one third of its workforce.

It's the African-American population that is suffering the most from the budget crisis, Jackson said, and black students trying to pursue an education should be afforded the opportunity.

While every public school has suffered, CSU's suffering has been the most severe. Thursday, its semester ended two weeks early so that students could graduate before financial reserves were exhausted.