News Local/State

EIU Laying Off 200 Employees, Asking Union Faculty To Accept Furlough Days

"Fund EIU" graphic for a rally scheduled for Feb. 5th calling on the state to restore funding for Eastern Illinois University.

Social media graphic for a rally scheduled for Friday, Feb. 5, calling for the restoration of state funding for Eastern Illinois University.

Eastern Illinois University will be sending out layoff notices effective in March for 200 employees. And administrators for the state university in Charleston want to expand unpaid furlough days to include union employees --- including faculty.

EIU President David Glassman told a Faculty Senate meeting on Tuesday that the layoffs --- which were first announced last week --- would affect 200 non-instructional employees. And he asked faculty and academic employees working under a union contract to accept furlough days that are already imposed on administrative and professional staff.

Chemistry Professor Jonathan Blitz is the president of the University Professionals of Illinois chapter at Eastern. He says expanding furloughs to union members will require their approval.

“Well, that is something that has to be discussed,” said Blitz. “First we have to be convinced that it has to be done in order to make it through the semester. So we’ve requested some information.”

Blitz expects union membership to make a decision on the furlough days fairly quickly --- with an initial discussion at a general membership meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

The layoffs and furloughs are being instituted at EIU, because of the state budget impasse which has meant no state funding this year.  In a letter to campus last week, EIU President Glassman stated that “our state government is literally starving its public universities.”

A rally organized by EIU supporters calling for the restoration of state funding to the university is being organized for Friday, Feb. 5 at 4 PM on the EIU library quad.

A flyer posted on the rally’s Facebook page urges attendance, saying, “together we can make Springfield hear us! Let’s show them what EIU means to us, our future and community!”