Editorial: Budget impasse affects universities

Staff Editorial

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In the summer, President David Glassman announced the laying off of 26 faculty members.  In a press release from Aug. 18, Eastern identified the 118 civil service and administrative and professional positions for elimination.

The state budget impasse and decline in student enrollment has affected Eastern in a major way, but it now being seen that another university is being affected as well.

In Friday’s edition of The Daily Eastern News, the article titled, “Western layoffs hit home for Eastern,” said Western Illinois University is experiencing similar problems Eastern faced.

The article states that because of cuts in higher education over the past decade, the lack of state budget and decline in student enrollment has led Western to eliminate 50 faculty positions.

Administrative positions and support staff positions may also be cut or have changes made in contracts. The cuts will take place at the start of the next fiscal year, July 1, 2016.

What Western is experiencing is almost exactly what Eastern faced and is currently facing.

The decisions to cut faculty and staff may seem like something that could be avoided, but that is not always the case.

The budget impasse is now on its sixth month, and with no budget approved yet, drastic measures must be taken to save money.

At Eastern, Glassman made the decision because it what was he had to do, and no one should be mad at him for that decision.

He came into a new university that was already struggling financially, and to help keep the school operating, he helped establish plans that would help keep the school afloat the longest.

Now Western is in a similar situation, and there is no denying that a lack of state budget is affecting higher education in the state of Illinois.

Public universities being impacted negatively by the budget impasse should lead to the state helping fund these universities.

On Tuesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner met with Speaker of the House Michael Madigan and other legislative leaders to discuss the budget impasse.

On Wednesday, Madigan spoke in Chicago about the budget for the first time.

Madigan said he hopes to raise the state’s income tax back up to 5 percent after it dropped to 3.75 percent in January.

It was also announced that the Illinois Lottery will once again pay its winners after stopping payments above $600.

The news of higher education was not discussed, but that is one of the most prominent issues facing the state. It is affecting not only faculty and staff at universities, but it is also affecting students.

Not enough students are speaking out or are taking action and because of that, the issue of higher education will continue to be ignored.

The budget impasse has gone on long enough, and it is time for one to be passed or for Illinois to fund public universities.  This issue can no longer be ignored, and the only way to make this issue aware to Rauner and the General Assembly, is to make sure the voice of the student is heard.

The daily editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Daily Eastern News.