CHARLESTON — Eastern Illinois University's president reaffirmed Monday that the university will not close in the fall and explained plans for additional budget cuts to be made if state funding falls through.
In a letter to the campus community, David Glassman said the university, in its current condition without further dollars from the state, might have to implement “additional cost-cutting measures” to get by until tuition dollars start rolling in this fall.
“The most difficult upcoming financial challenge for the university will be in July and August prior to the time we begin to receive tuition revenue in late August,” Glassman said in the letter. “It is imperative that we refrain from any end-of-year spending of division and department operation and gift accounts.”
Further layoffs may be one of these cost-cutting measures. Glassman said this does not mean, however, the university would have additional rounds of “large-scale layoffs” as in the spring.
“Our level of layoffs have already gone beyond efficiency to a level of inefficiency in several areas,” he wrote. “If any additional layoffs in civil service employees were to become necessary to bridge the summer months, they would be in the form of two-week, three-week, or 29-day emergency temporary layoffs.
"Those laid off would return immediately to their current positions and no bumping activity would occur.”
Also in the letter, the university president said that for employees like Unit B faculty, assistant coaches and those in student affairs who are waiting on decisions for reappointment into the next fiscal year, individual notifications will begin now and continue throughout the summer.
“I apologize for not being able to let you all know immediately and realize the importance to you and your families of a timely decision,” Glassman said.
As previously reported, Eastern received a third of its fiscal year 2015 appropriation, approximately $12.5 million, in a stopgap funding bill at the beginning of the summer. This funding is a lower appropriation than what was and is necessary to get the university through the summer without further cuts, officials said.
Eastern initially asked for approximately $24 million to $28 million when the stopgap legislation was ironed out.
The state is now less than a month away from the start of the fiscal year 2017 on July 1, and no budget for it or for fiscal year 2016 is in place.
Since the start of the layoff process almost a year ago, the university has cut 413 employees, going from a staff of 1,743 employees to 1,330 employees, according to university officials. Factoring in recalls, 245 staff and 13 faculty have been laid off. This does not include 72 retirements, 43 resignations and the dismissal of 40 extra help employees.
Along with personnel cuts, the university has also had to stop hiring, postpone construction projects and restrict travel and purchases to essentials.