CARBONDALE — Layoffs at SIU Carbondale are possible for next semester, according to a letter sent this week by the administration to one of its faculty unions.
The university issued what it calls a procedural letter to the Non-Tenure Track Faculty Association on Monday, declaring it might need to reduce employees before the start of the spring semester in January, because of budget shortfalls brought on by enrollment drops. The university also cited potential state and federal funding declines.
Such advance notices are mandated under the union’s contract with the university. Final notification for all full-time NTT faculty must be made by Nov. 30. For other staff, the deadline is Dec. 15.
SIU is facing the prospect of covering more employee pension costs under a deal Gov. Pat Quinn wants finished by early January. In addition, sequestration measures that might happen if the federal government pitches over the “fiscal cliff” could severely cripple research and student aid funding.
NTT Faculty Association President Anita Barrett declined to comment Wednesday but forwarded a message the union sent to members outlining their rights under the contract.
“Until there are specific names and details, we have nothing to say other than what we told our members,” Barrett said in an email to The Southern Illinoisan.
The letter was only sent per the requirement of the contract, Chancellor Rita Cheng said, noting she believes the university will be able to avoid significant reductions next semester.
“There will be some changes, but there are no widespread layoffs at all,” she said. “That rumor needs to be stopped; that’s just not the case.”
College deans and program directors are being asked to submit plans that assume further reductions in funding, Cheng said. In the end, she expects some employees may be moved but not cut.
Jim Clark, regional director for the IEA/NEA, which represents the faculty unions on campus, said the university is following the contract on procedure, but any layoffs would impair the university’s mission.
In addition to NTT faculty, Clark said similar notices have been sent to civil service employees on campus.
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