Glassman announces potential layoffs, furloughs if budget stalemate continues (UPDATED)

Layoffs, furlough could begin in March

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated since it was first published online. 


More layoffs and furloughs are coming in March if the state funding for Eastern does not come through soon, President David Glassman announced Monday in an email to faculty and staff.

“Our state government is literally starving its public universities,” Glassman said in the email.

Eastern had made budget adjustments this past fall, equaling reductions of about $10 million, getting the university to a balanced budget for fiscal year 2016.

This budget was adjusted, however, based on the university receiving the state appropriation, which it has still not.

Glassman said the university will need to temporarily or permanently lay off hundreds of non-instructional employees and give unpaid furlough days to others.

Some of the factors that will be examined when seeing which non-instructional employees these will be are their area of employment, the number of staff in the unit and the particular job responsibilities of the position.

Glassman said if these layoffs and furlough days become necessary, service and response times in many campus offices could become much slower.

In this situation, there will be longer wait times for building maintenance and construction projects will be stopped.

Glassman said he does not anticipate services to students will be affected too badly other than some inconvenience when waiting in campus offices with reduced staff.

“The university community has a shared vision of our educational mission and will work collaboratively and supportively to deal with the effects of our delayed appropriation,” Glassman said.

Paul McCann, interim vice president for business affairs, said these layoffs could affect any non-instructional employee, from Building Service Workers to those who work in the residence halls.

Call backs, the process by which formerly laid off employees are rehired, will happen immediately after an appropriation is given to Eastern and funds are received.

Glassman also announced that all non-essential spending for the university would end immediately to keep the university open for the semester.

This includes the stopping of all non-instructional capital equipment purchases, delaying all deferred maintenance and repairs that are not related to safety or already paid for and delaying non-instructional capital projects.

McCann said the university would not be buying anything that is not classroom related.

“If we’re buying computers for the business office, we wouldn’t be buying computers for the business office,” McCann said.

The university had already previously stopped repairs and maintenance on areas that were not needed for safety reasons.

“For instance, the stairs on the north side of the Union. Those are kind of a safety issue so we want to be sure those are done right,” McCann said. “So we’ve done what we’ve needed to do to protect everybody.”

Non-instructional supply purchases for the offices around campus will end as well unless a vice president approves them.

Employee reimbursed travel (with an exception in the case of required federal or government purposes) and hiring that involves funding for fiscal year 2016 will be frozen.

“I am hopeful that a state budget or higher education appropriation soon will be finally enacted, however we cannot rely on optimism alone,” Glassman said. “We must begin unfailingly to preserve our funds for instruction and employee payroll in the case our appropriation is further delayed or not received at all.”

Glassman said he does remain optimistic that the legislature and governor will allow for a higher education appropriation by March.

McCann said also still believes there will be an appropriation passed.

“They’re just not ready to do it yet,” McCann said. “But at some point they will pass an appropriation, then we’ll have to address what they passed.”

McCann said the point the university will exhaust its reserves is changing all the time.

Eastern is currently monitoring the state of the reserves closely to make sure what expenses are out there and the salaries they have to pay.

The university will then make the adjustment it needs to make to stay in business.

“The number one priority is to make sure that we are in business to keep teaching the students,” McCann said.

McCann said Eastern has a plan to move forward and will implement that plan as the university goes forward.

“We will be open,” McCann said.

Glassman said Eastern will continue to give students a positive experience and individualized attention for many years to come.

“Although the challenge of not yet receiving this year’s appropriation has caused rightful concern and many unfortunate consequences, the EIU community is passionate and resilient, and we will meet the challenge and look forward to the bright future ahead of us,” Glassman said.

Gov. Bruce Rauner will give his State of the State address on Wednesday.


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

EIU Budget Update 1/25/16 by Daily Eastern News