It what seemed to be inevitable, on Friday more than 900 employees from Chicago State University were told that may lose their jobs in the near future. As part of the WARN act, the school was legally obligated to tell workers about the possibility of a “widespread layoff,” says the Chicago Tribune.
Chicago State President Thomas Calhoun Jr. said on Friday morning that this has all been “very distressing.”
“We love this university. We know that for 150 years this university has done remarkable things with, in some cases, inadequate resources. So to be in a press conference where we’re talking about wide-scale layoffs is not the business that any of us are even in,” he said.
It’s unsure which percentage of staff and faculty will actually be laid off when all is said and done. The first round of cuts will most likely happen at the end of April, the Trib wrote.
It’s no secret that Chicago State has been facing serious financial issues as of late.
Earlier this month, university officials declared a state of emergency, pointing the finger at Illinois governor Bruce Rauner, whose policies and inaction have placed a serious burden on the South Side institution and its 4,500 students. See, the school is dependent on Springfield for 1/3 of its monies, assistance that Rauner has yet to release to them and eight other public schools throughout the state since July 2015.
CBS points out that Rauner “has accused the university of ‘throwing money down the toilet’ and recently vetoed legislation that would have authorized spending $721 million for community colleges and college scholarships, because it didn’t come with revenue to pay for it.”
In return, Chicago State officials have taken extreme measures to make ends meet from cancelling spring break, making it easier to fire tenure professors and ending certain academic programs.
As expected, this newest move has city residents up in arms:
Yet, is there a silver lining on the horizon to #SaveCSU? Maybe. A board of trustees are putting together a committee to review the budget and create strategies to move forward. Meanwhile Calhoun reassured the public saying that even in the worse case scenario, the school will remain open, but with fewer resources and students than before.
“We will roll up our sleeves and we will work as hard as we can. Our university will emerge as a strong university in spite of indifference and a lack of action on the part of Springfield,” he said.
Currently, CSU ranks first in Illinois in awarding bachelor’s degrees to African Americans in the physical sciences, health professions and related sciences and fourth in awarding baccalaureate degrees to Latino Students in education.