Friday, April 29, 2016

CSU layoffs; Rauner's optimistic spin; swastikas at U of I.

The Tribune and Sun-Times are reporting that Chicago State has laid off 1/3 of its staff, about 300 people; no faculty have been laid off, but almost 50% of the rest of the staff are now gone. Faculty are expected to finish CSU's semester off, and are thus technically on contract through May 15, but it is unclear how many will be back in the fall. CSU in effect laid off everyone, and issued 'recalls' to those who still have jobs. They will be reviewing academic programs this summer (with no faculty around) in order to decide what will stay and what will go given the budgetary situation.

CSU got a higher percentage of its state allocation through the recent stopgap funding bill than any other school (about 60%), but it was still too little, too late. The school will attempt to limp through the summer in hopes of surviving for the fall.

In news from a day or two earlier in the week the Tribune reports that Rauner has put on his happy face and suggested a grand bargain on the budget was possible by the end of May, and the SJR reports that he may dip into his own private fortune to pay for a special session and that he wanted more money for higher education budget in FY 16 (i.e., the current fiscal year, the one for which we've gotten only 30% of our state funding). The Tribune story on Rauner's optimism  includes the following bit of analysis.
By broadcasting he's open to a deal, Rauner is seeking to avoid blame as an obstructionist should an agreement remain elusive. It’s not the first time Rauner has declared he’s “cautiously optimistic” about a pending deal. He said as much nearly a year ago, though those talks quickly fell apart. His optimism has since wavered depending on whether he’s in attack mode.
In other news, swastikas drawn on campus buildings at the U of I are leading administrators there to call for tolerance; in the same announcement, the U of I administration noted that an employee had been fired for leaving a noose on a table in a work area. 

We live in interesting times.

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