Glassman discusses budget, dispels rumors


Jason Howell

Eastern President David Glassman talks about the budget impasse and what it means for the university during a forum in the 7th Street Underground of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Analicia Haynes, Administration Editor

President David Glassman dispelled several rumors about the budget impasse at a forum Monday afternoon in the 7th Street Underground of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

The purpose of the forum was to answer students’ questions regarding the budget crisis that has left Eastern and other public universities without a state appropriation for eight months.

“It’s important to me for all the students to know exactly what is taking place at Springfield and how it all works and how it affects Eastern,” Glassman said.

Those who attended the forum heard a brief explanation on what has happened as a result of the budget impasse and what will happen in Springfield during the next two weeks.

Glassman said the rumors, including the one about Eastern closing, the school being sold to individuals and the cutting of programs and majors were not true.

“We’re still okay,” Glassman said. “We are not closing, we are fiscally solid with an appropriation and we anticipate that we are going to get a appropriation relatively soon.”

Glassman said the idea for the forum came after he sent another email to students, faculty and staff reiterating how the budget impasse has affected Eastern and addressing the rumors that have been circulating around campus.

Glassman said it was suggested he host a forum to reach out to as many students as possible because the situation is bringing anxiety to them and their families.

Glassman said students would hear the same information at the forum that was in the email he sent out.

“It gives everybody another opportunity to ask their questions that I might not have addressed in the email and to give you any updates,” Glassman said. “Unfortunately there (are) not many updates from last week to this week.”

Glassman said if an appropriation was not passed then the university would have to restructure their revenue and expense structure to resemble that of a private university but the school will not go in that direction.

“If we’re not going to get any money from the state then we have to make sure that our operations are such that it balances our tuition and fees,” Glassman said. “We don’t think the state wants us to do that because they own the university and that’s why we will get the appropriation.”

Glassman explained how public higher education worked and why the university needs the state appropriation in order to keep costs down and support the operation of the university.

Glassman told the audience what Eastern has done to survive after Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the FY16 budget.

Glassman said the university paid for the Monetary Award Program grants using money from the university’s reserves.

Until then, Glassman said the university would continue to use their reserves until an appropriation is received.

He said there is no set day to determine when the reserves run out because it does not work that way.

“Really, as strange as it sounds, it’s a stroke of a pen that brings everything back to normal,” Glassman said. “We have every reason to believe that we are going to get our (FY)16 appropriation before our (FY)17 appropriation.”

Brinton Vincent, a graduate student in the college student affairs program, asked if the university would receive both the FY16 and FY17 allocations in the same year.

Glassman said though he was not sure what might happen, if the appropriation for this fiscal year was enacted then the university will begin to receive pieces of that allocation and those pieces will overlap into the next fiscal year.

Glassman said he believes this will happen because he does not believe the states have the funds to give the university the anticipated $40 million all in one lump sum.

Glassman said he believes the money will come from a combination of making significant cuts across many areas including the 8.6 percent cut to higher education and raising taxes.

Akeem Forbes, a junior English major, asked what might happen to the university if there was a drastic decrease in enrollment.

“There are a lot of students that are already talking about leaving Eastern and a lot of staff and faculty suggesting that students transfer,” Forbes said.

Glassman said it is not necessary for students to transfer.

He said if there was a decrease in enrollment then the university will have to restructure their budget in order to balance it.

Glassman said he has already adjusted all of the expenses for the expected 8.6 percent budget cut.

“That’s already taken care of,” Glassman said. “But if it’s more than 8.6 percent that would be an additional cut that I have not worked out yet and so we would have to see what that is.”


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