Last week, eighty employees of Southern Illinois University were laid off. SIU is the largest employer south of Effingham, Illinois…which is a two hour drive north from it.
I spent over thirty-two years…or my entire career at SIU. SIU is the economic engine that propels our entire region. Without SIU…we would be likened to Appalachia.
I do not fault the Chancellor and President, who are good men, but I do fault our state government that has failed to pass a state budget for two years. I am beginning to wonder if it is the Governor’s plan is to starve State Universities to death…and thus effectuate several of their closures?
Fifty-one of the lay-offs were Civil Service Staff. I was a member of the Civil Service Staff for my entire career. As a rule Civil Service are the first to go…but their value to the institution is tremendous. Without Civil Service Staff…you have no University.
In the early 1990s SIU had a peak enrollment of almost 25,000 students. Housing units that were built of two students were being altered to house three.
SIU was referred to as the second Jewel in the Crown of Higher Education for the state of Illinois, with the University of Illinois being the first.
Southern is renowned for it’s’ extremely highly rated academic programs and is a Carnegie II Institution.
The abysmal condition of the lack of a Sate Budget for the Great State of Illinois…the home of Abraham Lincoln…is the primary cause of the precipitous decline of opportunity for all of the State’s residents.
I walked the Campus the day that the lay-off notices were distributed. You could have heard a pin drop! The silence was deafening.
I think that the Chancellor and President agonized about their choices…I have been impressed regarding the access that they have given me…and I think that they really listened.
Delyte wept..and so did Dorthy…
Although President Trump promises that Coal is going to make a comeback…it is not…that would be a fake promise.
Southern Illinois University is the Promise and the Hope and the Dream of…Southern Illinois. Little Egypt has no other card to play…if we fold on the University…we fold on our economic life.