Layoff notices given out Wednesday

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

Editor’s Note: Stories will come out and be updated as more information regarding the layoffs becomes available. If you were laid off and would like to share your story about your experience and service at Eastern, please email us at [email protected]


Layoff notices began going out to different areas of civil service personnel Wednesday.

198 notices will go out in total between Wednesday and Thursday.

Dan Crews, director of patron services in the Doudna Fine Arts Center, who has been in the College of Fine Arts and Humanities for 27 years, is one of the people who received a layoff notice Wednesday, meaning Friday, March 11 will be his last day.

Six people Crews was close with at Eastern also received layoff notices, including some who are single parents, which he said troubles him.

Crews said he knew his colleagues are hurting for him as they are for his other friends.

“This is not good news. There’s 198 people being told that their future at Eastern is in question and that’s unfortunate,” Crews said.

Though Crews said what was happening is painful, he said he is still trying to be positive.

Crews said the hardest part of being laid off is not knowing if Eastern will be in his future.

He said the “myriad of tasks” he was given was one of the things he loved best about his job along with the relationships he forged with students and the community.

The layoff notice was not a surprise to Crews.

He said the university had been good with letting people know they were a possibility, Crews said.

A representative from human resources and Crews’ boss came to tell him he was being laid off.

“This is not an easy task for (my boss,)” Crews said. “This is not easy for anybody to have to tell anybody they’re going to be laid off. I don’t envy them.”

Crews is not mad at Eastern, which he said has given him great opportunities; any anger or disgust he has lies with the politicians involved in the budget crisis.

“We’ve gone now nearly eight months without a budget, and each side is trying to push their agenda forward,” Crews said.

He said a wide gambit of people, from children to senior citizens, were being hurt by this as well as Illinois itself, as people are leaving the state as a result of the impasse.

“We’re losing a lot of really good people,” Crews said.

Crews said hopefully, if things get better, people will be able to keep their jobs.

“We’re living in strange times, especially in Illinois,” Crews said. “We can do a lot better than what we’ve been doing.”

Crews said he will have to prepare himself to go on job interviews and write resumes as well as continue to be frugal with his money.

“I guess I’m concerned for those who live paycheck to paycheck,” he said.

He told his wife and children about his layoff notice.

He said his kids felt bad, as they were raised at Eastern, because he took them to every event from concerts, to plays, to the annual arts festival, Celebration.

When people heard about Crews being laid off, he got messages from across campus sending him their support.

He said he is now trying to let the dust settle and figure out “where to go from here” and stay positive.

Because Celebration will be canceled this year after 38 years, along with his everyday duties, while he is here, Crews will be in the process of making sure food and art vendors are notified properly.

Crews’ goal is to make sure Celebration is only going on a hiatus this year until the budget impasse is solved.

Beth Kastl, an office administrator, received a notice but as she has seniority in her position, she has bumping rights.

Kastl will have worked at Eastern for sixteen years on March 20 and in the journalism department since 2013.

On March 12, Kastl will get an email telling her what her new position is.

The layoff notice gave Kastl the option of taking a layoff, bumping into a new position, or retiring.

If the person who has bumping rights above Kastl decides not to go to another position or decides to retire, she will stay in the journalism office.

Right now, she said not knowing if she will be bumped or not does not bother her, because it is still 30 days away, but it might as the day comes closer.

Kastl said because of the fact some people get bumped into positions they have never worked before with new requirements, new job duties and a new boss, the process can be chaotic.

In the next 30 days before she moves to a new position, Kastl will have to turn in her keys, any department records to the department chair, turn in any equipment she checked out, and take care of her Panthercard and business emails.

She is also trying to get things ready for the end-of-the-year events to make things easier for the person who takes her position.

Kastl said she will miss the people and students she works with if she has to leave her job as office administrator.

Mark Hudson, director of housing and dining, said no actual positions were eliminated in housing and dining because people were able to be bumped to different areas.

However, because the person with the least amount of seniority does not get bumping rights, people were still laid off in that area if they were not able to be bumped into another position.

Some Building Service Workers from the facilities department will go to the housing and dining department because of bumping rights.

Hudson said there would be less BSWs in academic areas because there is a much higher level of sanitation needed in residential areas.

Different people let workers know about their layoff notices depending on who their supervisor is.

This was emotional, Hudson said, because each of them were like members of a family.

Blair Lord, vice president of academic affairs, said about 40 positions in his area were affected, but it will take at least two days to get through the meetings with all the people involved.


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