Glassman explains university contingencies

Cassie Buchman, Administration Editor

Even with the state budget impasse still in place, Eastern has plans and ways to keep the school open through the spring semester and beyond.

President David Glassman sent out an email last Monday telling students there is no doubt the spring semester will be completed as usual.

Glassman said he sent the email because he heard from a number of students and even parents who were worried about the school closing in the spring.

“We are absolutely having a spring semester,” Glassman said. “(Students) have nothing to be afraid about.”

Glassman said he wanted to communicate that to students, and felt the email was the best way to do it.

“Shortly after I sent the email, it was all over social media,” Glassman said.

Glassman said social media worked fast, especially when it came to rumors, such as the one started about the school shutting down.

Glassman said certain things from the State Senate Higher Education Committee’s budget hearing were taken out of context, such as when he was asked when the university would run out of funds.

Glassman said he thought this would happen in spring, which is when they would then move to contingency plans.

“It’s not a matter of closing, it’s a matter of moving to different contingency plans,” Glassman said.

Glassman said the contingency plan consists of doing things the school would not normally have to do if it had an appropriation.

“We have plans to get through spring,” Glassman said. “That’s the end of the budget year.”

The first level of contingency is getting an appropriation from the state and the second level is the use of reserved funds from past years.

The reserved funds have already been used for several years.

The third level of contingency is getting a loan.

To get a loan from the bank, Eastern would need approval from the state.

Paul McCann, the interim vice president for business affairs, said this would mean asking for a new law giving the university’s authority to borrow the money.

“The previous version that was passed in 2010 required us to run it by a committee that the state established to review that borrowing,” McCann said.

McCann said being a part of the state, he thought Eastern would have a good chance of getting a loan if the university had to.

“The bigger issue would be finding a bank large enough to loan us money,” McCann said. “There are all kinds of lending limits that the banks have, you would just have to find a bank with a lending limit that was high enough that they could loan us the money.”

McCann said he still thinks that the most likely scenario is that the state will pass a budget and the university will get appropriations.

Despite these rumors and concerns about appropriations coming from the state, Glassman said the school would be able to get through the next semester as well as future semesters and years.

Appropriations are funds given to universities from the state.

Glassman said a new year sets up new appropriations, and Eastern is not the only school having problems.

“A new year sets up new appropriations,” Glassman said.

The reason they are having problems is because they all need appropriations from the state that they are not getting.

All universities need these appropriations, no matter how big or small they are.

The nine public state universities in Illinois sent a letter to Gov. Bruce Rauner and other state leaders asking them to end the fiscal impasse.

“We talked about appropriations from the state, how important they are,” Glassman said. “We are all in this together.”

Glassman said each year Eastern eventually receives the appropriations it needs from the state.

“We’re hoping the budget gets passed as soon as possible,” Glassman said. “It’s hard to say at this point how long we will go before the appropriations are put in place.”

In the case that it does not receive these appropriations, a contingency plan allows the school to keep being funded and able to pay faculty and staff.


Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]