Northeastern Illinois University will cancel classes for three days in April and May in a cost-cutting effort during the state’s budget crisis, the school announced Wednesday.
The cancellations will take place on April 11, 12 and May 1, NEIU said in a release. The shutdown came less than a month after the school implemented a weeklong furlough program that impacted around 10,000 students and 1,100 employees university-wide over spring break.
“For Northeastern, this is a state of emergency,” said interim President Richard J. Helldobler. “When we decided to implement furloughs during the five days of spring break, we did so with the intention of avoiding any impact on instruction even though we knew it could be problematic to our accreditation and licensure requirements. With these additional furlough days, we are now forced to cancel classes, which not only affects instruction but also critical core knowledge delivered by our highly qualified faculty.”
“I’m gonna be missing those days and a lot of our projects are going to be pushed back as well,” one student said of the shutdowns.
In March, Northeastern also implemented a furlough program that required employees to take one unpaid day off every six weeks. In 2015, the university also eliminated 65 non-instructional positions and implemented a hiring and travel freeze, as well as shutting down repairs around campus, facing a funding shortfall as the state nears two years without a budget.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, my frustration level is at a 22,” Helldobler added. “Springfield must understand that the lack of funding for higher education is having a negative and permanent impact, specifically on disadvantaged populations in the state.
Without full appropriations from the state, Northeastern said additional furlough days would not only be possible – but inevitable. Administrators continue to negotiate with employee unions to determine the next steps.