Layoffs will affect different areas of campus

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

The 200 layoffs of civil service employees announced by President David Glassman at a Faculty Senate meeting Tuesday have been on the minds of many at Eastern.

Glassman said work is still being done to identify positions that will be laid off.

Those who have been laid off will receive a letter and other information about the layoff, and will stop working at the end of the 30-day notice.

Laura Smith, treasurer of the Civil Service Council, said she was overwhelmed when hearing the number of layoffs would be 200 since she originally thought the number would be 150.

Although civil service workers now know how many layoffs will happen there is still uncertainty about other aspects.

“It makes you feel numb, because you do not know who this all affects,” Smith said.

Smith said since civil service workers numbers were already lowered, the additional layoffs put everyone in a tense position.

To prepare for the layoffs, Taylor Dining Center, where Smith works as a clerical worker, is looking at hours, menus, student hours, when their peak times are and other factors that will help even more.

Though they run a tight ship, Smith said, and they are cutting down on certain things.

“We haven’t bought office supplies since way back when,” Smith said.

Because there will be less staff, Smith said there will be more crunching.

While people have worked to make up for less staff from previous layoffs, this will only increase, Smith said, though they will be able to handle it.

“The job aspect is not the problem,” Smith said. “The uncertainty is. They say 200 people on campus, well they have to factor in that those people have families.”

Smith said the layoffs will also affect those in the community because there will be less people out spending money in stores around Charleston.

Smith anticipates getting bumping rights, meaning she would go back to being a supervisor in the food court if she were to be laid off.

While she has no problems going back, what bothers her is that the person whose position she would take would be gone.

She said though she wants to keep a job, she does not want anyone else to lose theirs, but if she has bumping rights and that is the way it falls, that is how it is going to have to go.

“We have so much (of a) family structure and so much concern and so much compassion for our fellow employees,” Smith said.

Because of this family structure, Smith said it would be a challenge to see so many people gone especially since the university is still adapting to layoffs from last semester.

“We’ll just absorb what more we have to do,” Smith said. “Do I think the university can sustain (the layoffs)? We’re gonna have to. We don’t have a choice. We have to do what we have to do to keep the doors open.”

She said everyone is taking baby steps but moving forward.

“We’re still here. We’re still here everyday,” Smith said.

She said they were here for the students and they will not suffer from what is going on.

“They are our outside family that we have brought into our family,” Smith said. “ We are your future and you are our future.”

Smith said others on the civil service council had the same concerns as she did regarding the how, where and when the layoffs will happen.

She said at a meeting this week, everyone said different things with one main concern- what is best for Eastern.

Although civil service workers are the ones who will be laid off, their loss is felt by other members of the university.

Gopal Periyannan, a chemistry professor, said as someone who works in a science department, they have research labs that need help with things like the roof leaking.

“Many feel the pressure,” Periyannan said.

Todd Bruns, an assistant professor at the library, said like every other department theirs is already down to the wire because of the last round of layoffs and retirement.

He said in a way, he was not surprised by the number of layoffs because of what was happening in Springfield.

Bruns said he did hope students would get involved and even get their parents involved to say how much higher education is needed.

Tatierra Baker, a junior early childhood education major, said students want to go to school and get their career, and everything happening makes it hard for students to go to school.

She said a lot of her friends did not know what to do in all the uncertainty.

“(It’s like) you’ve come so far, just to think that it might be taken away from you before you can get to that finish line,” Baker said.

Morgan Shaffer, a senior communication studies major, said it is ridiculous that it has come to the point of laying of 200 people who are essential to Eastern.

“What are they doing up there? They need to pass a budget,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer knows office workers who say hi to her and ask her how she is doing, who have become her friends.

“It would be really upsetting if they were to be let go,” Shaffer said. “They’ve been here 20 years and it’s sad they have to be let go because the state can’t get their act together.”

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