How Chicago State University Saved My Life and Helped Me Shed the Single Mother Stereotype

My Graduation Photo from Chicago State University.

My Graduation Photo from Chicago State University.

Most of you have read the facts and heard the outcries of injustice at the threat of closure that Chicago State University faces. However, many of you still don’t know CSU and why keeping it open saves lives. As a science major, Chicago State University is where I truly learned how to write and present my ideas in an eloquent manner. During my tenure at CSU, I worked as a research assistant in the Chemical Sciences and Engineering division at Argonne National Laboratory as well as in the Pulmonology lab at the University of Chicago. These are the types of opportunities this particular institution provides to students from under resourced communities. I would have never been able to accomplish the things that I’ve done if it were not for being a student of CSU.

As the SGA Student Representative of the Board of Trustees, the life skills and leadership that was cultivated in me remains invaluable to this day. Operating with integrity and on behalf of others, making hard decisions, learning to stand for what is right, and understanding proper protocols prepared me for life after graduation. This is just an iota of what CSU has afforded to myself and others.

The average student CSU has had challenges and fights for the opportunity to improve the quality of their lives. Many are returning or transfer students who for whatever life reason were not able to finish initially and are provided the opportunity to try again. Non-traditional classrooms have students from ages 18-60+ which makes them rich and diverse learning environments because it allows for a myriad of experiences to be expressed when sharing information. Below are some of the things they don’t tell you about Chicago State University and why keeping it in operation means that more lives will be saved:

 

  • CSU has one of the most highly sought after and competitive nursing programs with one of the highest rates of nursing Graduates in IL.
  • CSU has an amazing school of Pharmacy (supported by Walgreens).
  • CSU has partnerships with valuable businesses and corporations that provide opportunities to highly eligible students who other wise would not be exposed to such experiences because of their socioeconomic status.
  • CSU has a multitude of services and programs that assist veterans with their academic goals
  • CSU is a Commuter School with a demographic consisting mainly of students who are working, have families, and other responsibilities.  It offers online, day and evening classes, extended library and facility hours which gives more people the opportunity to obtain a degree. This helps Individuals who MUST work and cannot attend classes during ‘traditional’ school hours a fighting chance to be able to earn a degree from a brick and mortar institution. As a young single mother who had to work, I would not have been able to graduate if those options were not available to me.
  • CSU is a SAFE ZONE. It is no secret that due to gun violence Chicago is one of the most dangerous places to live. What needs to be understood is that many young people spend additional hours on campus because it is a safe haven for them. They don’t have to worry about the same stressors that affect them when they return home (while on campus). They don’t have to think about stray bullets or waking through gang zones just to get to their classes. Even if only briefly, Chicago State University provides peace to many who come from dangerous parts of the city.
  • When I was enrolled at CSU , it had the lowest amount of sexual & criminal offenses on all college campuses in the state of IL. Yes, at a predominately black institution. I believe this is still the case.
  • Despite issues concerning administration and bureaucracy, Chicago State University has some of the most intelligent and finest minds as faculty and staff. My own professor Dr. Julian Scheinbucks left 1 million dollars to the school after he passed. He had saved payroll checks  from his tenure at CSU and gave it back to the school. People only do that for places they KNOW provide a positive impact to the community served.

 

Chicago State University is SO MUCH to SO MANY PEOPLE. It is a 2nd chance to start over for a former gang member. It is a new beginning for a 50 year old divorceé. It is an exciting opportunity for a high school graduate and retribution for a young veteran. It is an affordable institution with exceptional and competitive programs for a financially struggling individual. Getting a degree was an arduous 10 year journey that I would never have been able to complete had it not been for Chicago State University. For me, it was the opportunity, encouragement, and difference that motivated me to become an educated professional. An example of academic excellence to my child.  I became a proudly contributing member of society, instead of continuing to sit at my father’s home uneducated and unemployed collecting government assistance.

 

I am one of thousands of success stories that would not exist if it were not for Chicago State University and the very valuable people who work there. Rauner holding the budget in limbo with the threat of closing CSU is beyond insidious. It is the true definition of racism. We know that racism is the actual ability and power to adversely affect the lives of a particular group of people. That is what is happening right here, right now.  Chicago State University is a PBI ( Predominately Black Institution). It also has more TENURED professors of color than surrounding institutions. Not to mention the highest graduation rate of people of color. CSU protects, educates, encourages, and values people of color. This South side institution, that serves the community and people from all over the city and surrounding suburbs needs to continue.

They have already closed over 50 of our children’s schools in the last 2 years, with more slated to close as well. Now they are trying to close one of the institutions that successfully educates  a multitude of black people. This shit is blatant and is CLEARLY an attack on black intellect. There is an obvious desire to systematically derail and disenfranchise a particular group of people at an exponential rate.

 

DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN.

 

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Click Here to sign the petition to help Chicago State University remain in Operation.

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