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Northeastern Illinois Students Lose Jobs

March 6, 2017
 
 

About 300 students at Northeastern Illinois University will lose their campus jobs, and all faculty will be required to take a weeklong furlough later in the month, The Chicago Tribune reported.

This is the latest consequence of Illinois’ gridlocked state Legislature, which has not been able to agree on a budget for nearly two years.

The university will shut down during its spring break, from March 20-24, and its 1,100 employees will each take five unpaid days off. During that time, all institutional services and centers, like the libraries and computer labs, will also be closed.

A new state rule requires public universities to cut all state-funded student and temporary jobs before resorting to furlough. The student jobs cover a range of services that benefit students, faculty and staff as well as others in the community, including at tutoring, writing and recreational centers on campus.

"This is another extrapolation of the bind that state universities are being put in as a result of the budget impasse," Richard Helldobler, interim president, told the Tribune. "The state is just putting us in an untenable position. It's time for the state to get their heads around the fact that we need a budget in order to support public higher education in the state."

Illinois is currently controlled by a Republican governor and a Democratic Legislature.

Many at the university worry that this will severely hurt students who hold those jobs in order to pay for tuition or housing, as well as those who might regularly use the tutoring and writing centers for academic help.

"It's just unthinkable to me that we would do this to students," Helldobler said. "The quality of the educational experience at Northeastern will be diminished because of this rule, and the services that we can really extend to taxpayers will also be impacted as a result of this rule."

The elimination of student jobs is only the most recent example of Northeastern’s attempts to cut back on its budget. It, along with other public colleges in Illinois, has slowed construction projects, laid off employees and altered programs in order to avoid costs.

The university has not revealed how much it expects to save through the furlough and student job cuts -- only that it would be “enough to keep us afloat,” a spokesperson said.

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