Eastern: uncertainty under a dark blue cloud

Roberto Hodge, News Editor

Eastern, you have a problem. Your enrollment has been on a steady decline since I set foot on this campus three years ago.

When I came to Eastern, I was one of the 10,417 students—now, until the new fall enrollment numbers are released in the coming weeks, I am one of 8,913 students.

Eastern has also been faced with layoffs, more budget cuts, administrators and a former president abandoning ship.

When it rains it pours, huh?

Many questions arise in my head when I think about the current situation of the campus in regards to layoffs and declining enrollment.

Could this have been avoided? Whose fault—Illinois? Incompetent administration?

I’ve heard rumors of a slightly larger freshman class, but until those numbers are released it’s all speculation.

I’ve noticed the amount of students on campus and I believe enrollment hasn’t gotten any better—dare I say the student body looks smaller.

However, in the center of so many issues and problems behind the scenes, Eastern has done a good job at keeping a façade and spirit for incoming students making them oblivious to its cracked foundation.

Many of the students I spoke to on move-in-day were as excited about this campus as I was a few years ago.

The campus has even managed to do construction fixing some of the cosmetic and even more serious matters wrong with its architecture, which is a great thing.

Life goes on. It’s nice to see so many new students happy and enthusiastic about the university—Eastern is a great school with strong programs and dedicated faculty and staff.

The first person to show me around my academic home that is the Journalism Department was, Elizabeth “Beth” Kastl and she was very helpful and answered all of my questions.

Sadly, however, people with positions like hers, Civil Service, are the ones being laid off and that’s unsettling.

I, along with many students within the department, are grateful she has not been given the hammer, but what of other areas on campus with jobs like hers?

It’s sad to think the person to greet students and the person who knows everything happening in a department can be let go all because of needing to save money.

Eastern should be very careful with how they handle this year.

Yes, students are coming and excited for what’s to come, but with all the uncertainly of job security and whether or not classes may be affected because of lay offs the future seems a little hazy.

Roberto Hodge is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]