:: Tuesday, May 09, 2006 ::
As has been extensively reported on in the local blogosphere, especially The Next Frontier, Gov. Blagojevich is making an appearance on campus today to announce his new MAP Plus program, that would involve selling "the Illinois Student Assistance Commission’s loan portfolio that benefits lower-income students in order to fund a college tuition tax credit for upper-income parents," to quote the letter from four College Democrat presidents who oppose the new program.
When there are protests planned by the Illinois Student Senate and the College Republicans (who, after complaining about a College Dem barcrawl shirt last semester, are hypocritically wearing tshirts that say "Take this rod and shove it,"), along with an emphatic opposition from the college members of your own party, all of which aren't afraid rain on your "we're helping the students" sunshine parade, you've made a rather large PR blunder.
In light of the student response to his new program, the Governor's staff has moved the event indoors and closed it to all but the media so he wouldn't have to face the unhappy students.
His staff shouldn't have been surprised, either. This county went for Eisendrath in the primary election (warning, pdf), and this was arguably due to his administrations blatant underfunding of higher education. To expect that the students here would stand by cheerfully as Blago promoted more benefits for his older Chicago-area base at the expense of the students who actually attend school here was a bit much. At least, this time around, the governor's staff has started to use technology and caught wind of the protests planned. Perhaps they're getting wise after the Daily Show mess.
NOTE: I ran into Kiyoshi before the event was supposed to start, who told me that since the event's now media-only, he's apparently covering it for the DI's website. With the DI's blogging policy still in force, this'll mean he won't be able to cover as much on his own blog. As such, I don't feel bad for stealing his thunder over all this. Besides, since he'll actually be inside (and, hopefully, able to ask some biting questions), he'll have more information to offer than what I know at the moment.
UPDATE: In the comments, Kiyoshi reports that right before the governor got there they let the protesters in (whilst funneling them to the perimeter of the room). He was still too cowardly to take the students on their own turf outside.
:: The Squire 4:07 PM :: email this post :: ::