n the email below, Interim President Helldobler announces an office hour today to discuss the budget crisis and the university’s response to it. I strongly suggest that as many of us as possible attend this morning at 11:00 in the Cafeteria.
The email notes that the administration is working with leaders of the advisory panels in shared governance. I want to remind everyone that there are contractual issues at stake in the changes suggested below–for us and for other unions on campus–and thus want to remind everyone that many possible changes in the university’s structure will have to be negotiated with representative bodies that are not merely advisory.
TO: Faculty and Staff
FROM: Richard J. Helldobler, Interim President
DATE: May 24, 2017
RE: Budget Update 5-24-17
I am determined that Northeastern Illinois University will continue as a strong, vibrant, excellent University. To that end, as I mentioned during the most recent community gatherings to discuss our budget situation, the University will be taking the necessary steps to close a multi-million dollar shortfall that is the result of a nearly two-year-old state budget impasse. We have waited as long as we can. Without adequate state funding, it has now come down to this. We have no choice but to undergo a painful process that will require layoffs of A&P and Civil Service employees, continued furloughs, outsourcing of services where possible and a reorganization of departments.
Members of the Executive Council — along with the chairs of the Faculty Senate, University Advisory Council and the University Planning & Budgeting Council — are in the midst of discussing how and when we implement these measures. While we don’t have exact numbers to share regarding layoffs, we plan to announce them within the next seven to 10 business days. The Northeastern we see now at the start of the summer will not be the same Northeastern we see at the end of the summer. And we will continue to evolve even after that; as we continue Forward 150 this fall, we will pick up work through a thoughtful process that will transform us into a leaner institution in light of unreliable state funding.
What this means is that some will be laid off. It means that some might report to a new supervisor. It means that some might have to expand our individual work responsibilities. It also means that we will have to continue to make sacrifices in the form of continued furloughs. It means all of these things, and I hate it.
I expect that many of you will have questions about this. Continuing my commitment to be as open and accessible to you as possible, I will host an impromptu Open Office Hour tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. in the Cafeteria of the Main Campus. This informal gathering is an opportunity for any Northeastern employee who wishes to attend our meeting to ask me a question regarding the budget, layoffs, or any other related matter. I will do my best to answer all of them during that hour.