Chicago Heights, IL

Senior Board Member Jay Readey Prepares Responses To South Suburban News Questions

South Suburban News
Students and alumni speak out on what they want from Prairie State College As SSN awaits Sr. Board Member's response.Photo byJT Taylor South Suburban News

After making request of Prairie State College Senior Board Member, Jay Readey to answer questions regarding Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the South Suburban News received a response from Prairie State Chief of Staff, Pat Trost.

Prost wrote in an email, “Mr. Taylor, Mr. Readey is working on the responses to your questions. We apologize for the delay.”

The questions centered around the college’s massive $50 Mil. plus budget and its record on engaging with persons with disabilities led firms, minority firms, hiring of professors of a diverse background and more tenured staff in classrooms and administration.

After receiving many calls, comments and e-mails, we have learned that the article is being read and well received.

Many of our readers want to know more as well. According to Thomas Clement who had a relative that graduated from Prairie State College (PSC), he can recall times when his relative just wanted to quit.

“I remember when my cousin was getting his A.A. degree. He would talk about how he had hoped that there would be more inclusion in how staff were selected for the classrooms. He just felt like it should reflect the community of a southland community that over the years has turned more and more of color, “he said.

He echoed the concerns of Barbara Sally who attended the college years ago. She recalls how it seemed that the leadership did not reflect the community and how that can cause issues.

“You want to be in a place where people understand what you may be going through. If you observe trends you know that two year colleges have more enrollment when times are harder in the economy, and unemployment is high. That being said, you have to have people who understand the plight of those people in certian roles, “she explained.

“What is even more true, is that when over $50Mil. is being spent, you do want people in control to be responsible, but also sensitive to the circumstances of students.”

In a Facebook Messenger post to South Suburban News, one follower suggested that we were doing a good service to the community by questioning diversity, as it really is a question as to whether the millions spent on education are being spent to educate or just to reward those in higher education.

He drew a parallel between teachers and staff’s meager pay in elementary and high school settings and how to a degree the salaries mimic the disparities among people of color in districts across the state.

Still, yet another message challenged us to go further in our questioning of Mr. Readey and get specific information on the dollars spent with minority firms, with efforts in finding qualified diverse groups of educators, as well as department chairs and so on.

A current student at PSC said he welcomes the article series and will share more in detail after the questions submitted by the South Suburban News are answered by Readey.

“I just want to finish my degree and at the same time be a proud Hispanic man who can say I went to a school where people were celebrated on the basis of there ability and not left out because of their background, disability or color, “he said.

We will await the responses of Mr. Jay Readey and thank him for his responses in advance, as we are sure they will shed some light on the issues we questioned him about. At worst they will lead to more probing questions about just how inclusive, diverse and equitable Prairie State College is being in the spending of over $50 Mil. this year.

We thank our readers for being attentive in this series and will continue to accept and respond to your comments to our e-mail and other social media platforms.

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