More cuts to Illinois higher education

Eastern Illinois University logoIn the American state of Illinois higher education continues to absorb body blows.  Over the weekend it was Eastern Illinois University‘s turn to make a series of harsh cuts.

The university is laying off 177 staff, about one third of its civil service unit.

The civil-service group includes housing and dining workers as well as members of the student-life and academic-support staffs, among others, said Vicki S. Woodard, a university spokeswoman.

How about faculty?  No rifs right now, but a salary cut looms:

unionized professors and academic-support staff members face a major vote next week. They will decide whether to accept a 5.6-percent pay cut through the end of the fiscal year, on June 30. Eastern Illinois says it’s $2 million short of making payroll, and it developed a proposal jointly with union leaders to deal with the gap.

Be sure to catch that “short of making payroll” line.  That’s how bad things have become for Illinois public higher education.  Worse,

[g]iven that the reduction would have to be absorbed over just three and a half months, though, the cut would probably feel much more significant than 5.6 percent, Grant C. Sterling, the union’s vice president, told The Daily Eastern News, the campus newspaper.

Why is this happening? The Illinois state government is still deadlocked over the budget.  This means (among other things) public universities have not received any state funding since July 1.  Of last year.

On the bright side, EIU’s president doesn’t think the school will close, nor end any academic programs.

For more background on the Illinois public higher ed crisis, check my depressing and growing string of posts.

(EIU logo via Wikipedia)

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