Glassman announces 200 layoffs

Analicia Haynes, Administation Editor

President David Glassman announced he would layoff more than 200 civil service personnel by the end of this week or next week Tuesday afternoon at the Faculty Senate meeting.

Blair Lord, the vice president for academic affairs, announced his retirement Tuesday afternoon at the meeting.

Lord said after a number of discussions regarding his future and the no confidence vote, he decided to retire June of 2017.

Lord said he wants to stay on for an additional year and a half because he wants to continue working on goals, initiatives and the ongoing work of the provost.

“We are in the middle of continuing to work on the revised university learning goals and moving them intentionally into the general education curriculum and ultimately into the majors,” Lord said. “That is something that would require a lot of my attention.”

Lord said Glassman also had academic affairs look at a number of possible new degree programs that would be attractive to students.

“Those things require someone to stay, and I think that would be some things that I could help finish up,” Lord said.

Glassman said the additional number of layoffs is needed for the university to get through the semester.

“If we operate as normal and don’t do the things that I talked about in my letter to campus, we wouldn’t make it to June,” Glassman said.

Glassman said although three bills have been cycled through Illinois that attempt to fund higher education, the university can not sit and wait to see what will take place.

“To do the least harm to our students learning environment is to reduce our costs by the measures that I already enacted which deal with travel, capital budget, other types of expenses,” Glassman said. “We still need additional funds to get us through and that is in the area of layoffs and furloughs.”

Glassman said only those who will be affected by the layoffs be notified.

“The sooner the letters go out, the sooner layoffs can occur,” Glassman said. “I would rather take the time to make sure.”

Glassman said it is possible an appropriation could be passed and as a result some or all of the letters could be rescinded.

He said it was also possible that during the time period that the letters are sent out, another alternative measure of cash accumulation from furloughs could result in the resending of layoff notices.

“It’s unfortunate because you’re telling someone that there’s some glimmer of hope but it might not happen,” Glassman said. “We’re dealing with peoples lives and it keeps you up at night.”

Glassman said to have additional funds to make it through the semester, he will ask individuals in Administration and Professional units to take furlough days on top of the days they already have.

“I do have the ability as I understand it that I can furlough non negotiated civil service individuals who are not in the union and are not going to be laid off,” Glassman said.

Glassman said all individuals in the A and P units have furlough days, even those under $50,000.

Steven Scher, a Faculty Senator, said 200 sounds like an awful number of people.

“I wonder what percentage of our remaining civil service staff that involves and how will that be distributed over different types of employees like clerical staff, maintence staff, and BSW staff,” Scher said.

Glassman said it would be about a third and asked the vice presidents to look at their personnel rosters to see what it would it look like if a third of the employees had to be taken out.

“We haven’t made any formalized decisions yet,” Glassman said.

Glassman said he has been encouraging suggestions and looking for nuggets of wisdom that can help with a solution that the university is looking for.

“I’m hopeful and optimistic that the appropriation is going to come in before we’re sitting at Lanz at graduation,” Glassman said.

Glassman said it is possible that if an appropriation is given and results in an $8.6 million cut in the budget, then not all of the individuals who are going to be laid off will return.

Jemmie Robertson, the chair of Faculty Senate, asked how much more would the layoffs of 200 civil service workers help the university.

Glassman said the estimate is about $3 million, and the university “can make it.”

Scher asked what faculty members can do to get students and parents to understand the seriousness of the topic.

Glassman said he cannot coordinate such events, but it has to be organic start with the students.

“Noise can be made, calls can be made, things can be made,” Glassman said.  “People have to do it.”

Glassman said the university is as nervous as can be.

“In the 36 years that I’ve been in higher education, I’ve never seen these types of challenges,” Glassman said.

Amy Rosenstein, a Faculty Senator, said there are certain members of the surrounding community as well as students who might unaware of the issues and they may not understand what is going on.

Glassman said the students’ reaction is a result of the university doing everything possible to have the students not realize any effect of the challenges the university has gone through.

“We made that commitment that they shouldn’t recognize it,” Glassman said. “We’ve done a pretty good job of letting them have the Eastern experience.”

 

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]

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Follow along with photographer Dominic Baima as he tweets from Rep. Reggie Phillips’ open office hours in Lerna

Posted by The Daily Eastern News on Tuesday, February 2, 2016