Employees speak out about getting laid off

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

Civil Service employees from various areas around campus received layoff notices last Wednesday and Thursday, causing many to leave jobs they love when they go into effect.

Tracy Hall-Ingram received one after working at Eastern as a project manager for eight years.

Ingram said she knows of people who have jobs that do not want to go to work every day, but working at Eastern, she is always excited to go to her job in the morning.

One of her favorite parts of her job is the people she works with.

Ingram said they have been though a lot together, including weddings and raising children and grandchildren.

She said she is going to miss her co-workers and seeing students going to their classes and doing their homework outside her office in Old Main.

“It’s always kind of cool, coming to work and seeing the castle in the distance,” Ingram said. “You’re like, I work there. I work in the castle.”

Bob Martin, vice president for university advancement, told Ingram’s supervisor so she could let Ingram know ahead of time about the notice so she would not have to find out about it that day.

“It was hard,” Ingram said. “I still can’t believe it’s going to happen.”

Ingram’s last day at her job will be on March 11, which also happens to be her birthday.

“Maybe for my birthday, they will fund Eastern,” Ingram said. “Not just for me, but for everybody else here.”

Ingram is still trying to get her plans together for when she leaves her position.

She said if she left Eastern, she is thinking about leaving the state.

“If I wasn’t here, where else would you be in the state of Illinois?” Ingram said. “If they don’t get it together, no place is going to be better off.”

Ingram said there was no use getting angry at those who do not have power, and that she was only angry at the legislators not passing a budget.

“They’re not doing their jobs, so they’re depriving us of the chance to have our jobs and have our livelihood,” Ingram said.

Ingram wants to make sure everything is in order before she leaves so her absence will not have that much of an impact in the office.

Though she said her leaving will will ultimately make a difference, she wants to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Ingram said her co-workers will have to take over her duties, which may slow down the work that they do.

Currently, Ingram lives with her husband, her stepdaughter who just graduated high school, her daughter and her two-year-old granddaughter.

She said financially, they are just going to have to plan things out.

Her daughter has a job where she is asking for more hours and her stepdaughter is starting an internship in March.

She said as a parent, she wants to help her children out, but at this point it will not be as easy.

After being laid off and telling those close to her, Ingram also put news of her layoff notice on Facebook, where it got a lot of support.

She said she thinks this news resonates with people, especially those who went to or are going to Eastern.

“They’re like, that is a person. That could have been someone I walked past in the hallway everyday,” Ingram said. “And now they’re not going to be there.”
Kim Turner, office administrator for the communication studies department, also received a notice.

She worked at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and said she enjoyed working in a university environment, with faculty, staff and students.

Like Ingram, Turner will also miss the people she works with, who she calls her family.

Since she has been at Eastern for less than five years, she prepared herself when she first heard there were layoffs coming, though it was a tough blow when she heard the news.

“No matter how much you prepare for it, it’s always difficult when it happens,” Turner said.

She discussed how to handle the layoffs financially with her husband as well as preparing for what would happen in her department.

She said things would be tighter financially with not as much of an income for her family, which includes her husband and four-year-old son, but they would still be able to make it. She said she is still worried about healthcare, though.

As soon as she was told about the news, she called her husband.

“Crying, of course,” Turner said. “It was a really tough day that day and the next day, but it really helped to have the support of faculty and students.”

She has calmed down since then, but she wants to keep sending a message to Springfield about how important funding is. She was glad the Fund EIU rally happened and said she hopes the movement does not fizzle out.

“I am hoping they are hearing us and we will hear some change soon,” Turner said.

Turner said she will be at the rally in Springfield on Wednesday.

While before, she never felt like a political activist, getting a layoff notice has brought out a news side to her that she likes.

She said she did not think those in Springfield understood that their lack of action had an impact on real lives.

Turner said it could be hard being at work with the layoffs of her and her colleagues, whom she considers like family, running through her mind.

“It’s affected everybody, not just the staff,” Turner said. “It’s hard to be focused and motivated when you’re constantly worried about what’s going on here.”

Turner said she will spend time with her son and try to get a new job in the university environment, but she does not know if she will if the state continues to be unsupportive of higher education.

Despite the current complications in Springfield, Ingram still has hope a budget will be passed and laid off employees will be able to come back.

“A little bit,” Ingram said. “Just a little bit.”

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