Chicago State University announced Friday that all faculty, staff and administrators have been sent notices warning of potential layoffs if the state’s budget crisis continues.
The school is one of several public universities currently in their eighth month with no state funding due to a historic budget stalemate in Springfield and after a series of reductions, and used up reserve funds, the university has given its employees a 60-day notice of possible layoffs, the university’s President Thomas Calhoun Jr. said.
In total, 900 notices were sent out, officials said.
“The actions taken today are necessary to fulfill our legal obligation and to make necessary reductions so that we can continue running the university in the absence of state funds,” Calhoun said in a statement. “It is our sincere hope that the governor and legislative leaders will do the right thing and provide funding for public universities before these layoffs would have to be executed.”
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.
Earlier this week, the Chicago State University canceled spring break to save money on a shortened semester. The school’s Board of Trustees also voted at the start of this month to declare a financial crisis, clearing the way for the school’s president and school leaders to make drastic cuts.
During the Friday announcement, Rep. Ken Dunkin revealed that on Tuesday he introduced a bill that would give $160 million in emergency funding that the Illinois Board of Higher Education will allocate to the top four schools on the brink of closure. It would also add $40 million to the top community colleges facing closure.
The governor has said he will sign the legislation, Dunkin said.
"Governor Rauner supports Representative Dunkin’s bipartisan legislation to provide emergency assistance to universities like Chicago State University," Rauner's office said in a statement. "If the General Assembly sends that bill to his desk, he will sign it."
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.