Layoffs anticipated at SIUC

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Illinois lawmakers have yet to agree on a budget. Now, leaders at Southern Illinois University Carbondale have announced that layoffs are imminent.

According to a memo written on May 31 by Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell, school leaders anticipate 51 civil service layoffs. Those who are being laid off will be notified by the end of business on Wednesday.

Colwell wrote that it is likely that 100 employees total will receive notification that they may be affected due to what he called the 'bumping process.' In addition to the 51 civil service layoffs, two non-tenure track faculty members have already received layoff notices. The appointments of two administrative professional staff will not be renewed, nor will the appointments of 24 non-tenure track faculty members.

Anthony Travelstead, the President of SIU's civil service council, he says, "And we are to the point that we can't cut anymore without cutting employees. It's just to the point where we are at right now. It's unfortunate, it's going to hurt. It hurts a lot of people, it hurts a lot of families, it hurts a lot of communities, but until our state politicians stop their blatant disrespect of the budget, then uh that's kind of the whole we are in right now."

The university has cut a total of 400 employees in the last two year in the midst of the state budget crisis.

School leaders already announced $19 million in permanent cuts to state-funded accounts. Colwell said nearly $12.5 million of that will be in vacant positions that will not be filled. The remainder of the cuts will come in the form of reductions in equipment, supplies and contractual services, campus work opportunities for students and travel.

Even if lawmakers approve a spending plan, university leaders say they must still move forward with $19-million dollars in permanent reductions.

According to Colwell, the focus will remain on ensuring that fall classes are fully staffed.

"Overall, we will be a different university with the loss of these colleagues and positions, but I remain confident that we can continue to fulfill our mission on behalf of our students," Colwell wrote.

Besides the staff reductions, there are other measures that will be put in place to tighten the budget. Colwell said there will be reduced hours in the library, reduced hours at the Information Technology help desk, and the workday will be reduced from eight hours to seven-and-a-half.

Colwell said that even when lawmakers approve a budget for Fiscal Year 2018, the University will still move forward with the plan to reduce the budget by $19 million. He said the reductions were already built assuming legislators agreed on a budget. The plan also considered the estimate of an enrollment decline.

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