Public Funding for a Private School

According to Ben Joravsky of the Chicago Reader, Loyola University, a Jesuit school in Chicago, was given $54,000,000 from the state of Illinois for redeveloping a campus building.

This is money that is taken away from the public schools and city projects and given to underdeveloped areas. Normally, if these funds are given to private universities, it is because the projects will help all the citizens (Northwestern University got money for a regenerative medicine wing and DePaul University received money for a science center).

Loyola says they will offer “community drama and art programs” in exchange for the funding… Hardly on par with the other colleges, and certainly no reason to take money away from the public school system.

Furthermore, this is city property that could be taxed going to a tax-exempt school. The city gets nothing back.

Joravsky states, “… The public is paying roughly $54 million of an $85 million construction project that benefits a private university charging $26,150 annual tuition and blessed with a growing endowment that now stands at about $260 million.”

Why is Loyola getting city funds for this? According to the article, political ties to the school.

For what it’s worth, our state constitution prohibits such activity (Article X, Section 3).

[tags]Joravsky, Chicago, Reader, Loyola, public, private[/tags]

  • cautious

    …wow, yeah this sounds massively illegal. …as a former Illinois resident what should I be doing about this?

  • http://www.friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    I wish I knew a better answer, but alerting the local media is always an option:

    – Writing a Letter to the Editor of the Chicago Tribune (ctc-TribLetter@Tribune.com) or Chicago Sun-Times (letters@suntimes.com).

    – Alerting local media to the story. CBS (312-202-2668), NBC (1-800-CH5-NEWS), ABC (fax number, (312) 899-8019), and FOX (http://www.foxchicago.com/contact/tellittofox.shtml).

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Hey Hemant,

    I understand not wanting to see public money go to a private university, but you also said:

    Normally, if these funds are given to private universities, it is because the projects will help all the citizens (Northwestern University got money for a regenerative medicine wing and DePaul University received money for a science center).

    Loyola says they will offer “community drama and art programs” in exchange for the funding… Hardly on par with the other colleges, and certainly no reason to take money away from the public school system.

    This comment makes it sound like you’d be okay with it if they had been building a new medical or science facility. I guess I’m wondering why you think the arts are less valuable to the community as a whole than the sciences.

    In fact, comparing the direct, personal benefit of an arts building to a science building (not including medical buildings), I would think that more people in the Chicago area would get more out of the arts building. I could go to see a play or a concert (or enroll my kid in a workshop) at Loyola’s arts building; but how am I supposed to directly benefit from DePaul’s new science building?

    Just throwing some thoughts out there for discussion… :)

  • http://www.friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    Mike– I’m all for the Arts, so it’s not that I’m choosing Science over them. However, while you may not use the medical facilities now (or hopefully ever), the research could be beneficial to you and others down the line.

    The arts center (which is not a definite thing yet– it’s only the intention) would not serve the population as a whole the way a hospital or research facility would. It would serve a small niche.

    And plus, we’re in Chicago! We have plays and concerts up the *(@&#. Yes, we could always have more (I know I always enjoy it when I see shows downtown), but is that as urgent as alleviating health problems? I doubt it.


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