Chicago State University President Thomas Calhoun says the school only has enough money to operate through the end of April as it continues to struggle without state funding.
Staff at the university said Wednesday they had received an email from school officials telling them to turn in their keys by April 4.
Calhoun said the move is part of a process to take inventory in preparation for the university’s possible closure.
While Calhoun said it’s not clear when the school would have to close, it will need to drop to “skeletal staff” levels if they don’t receive money from the state or an outside donor by the end of next month. He accused Gov. Bruce Rauner of “dodging his responsibility as chief executive of the state of Illinois” and said the governor and state legislature is “suffocating us.”
The announcement comes just one month after the school sent notices to all 900 staffers warning of potential layoffs if the state’s budget crisis continued.
The school is one of several public universities heading into their tenth month with no state funding due to a historic budget stalemate in Springfield.
The school depends on the state for about 30 percent of its funding. Without the funds, the Higher Learning Commission, its accrediting body, said the accreditation of public state universities is at risk.
“I may transfer because I’m concerned about graduating and I can’t continue to worry about if the school is going to close,” said senior communications major Andre Boyer.
The school earlier canceled spring break to save money on a shortened semester, scheduled to end on April 28, and declared a financial crisis, clearing the way for the school’s leaders to make drastic cuts.
About 4,500 students attend CSU. The student body is 80 percent African-American, many of them low income students. The school has been open for nearly 150 years.