Ikenberry: ‘we may in fact have to do some layoffs’ | The Daily Illini: "DI: What is the worse case scenario for the University right now for the budget crisis? Will there be any consolidation or layoffs in any academic or administrative units?
SI: Yes, there will be."
Oh, yes. There will be. The state of Illinois is insolvent, and there has been no adult supervision for the state legislature, in the form of a sane and honest governor, since...who knows when...12 years? First the crook Ryan, then the crook and lunatic Blagojevich, and now the airhead do-gooder Quinn. The state is now in the process of destroying the University of Illinois system. And I am not exaggerating. The situation will be so bad in a few months that entire departments will be eliminated and faculty positions along with them. You can say what you want about rebuilding, but there is no chance of this state ever (in the remotely forseeable future) being able to get out from under its existing obligations to fund rebuilding of the U of I. To take only one crisis, the State of Illinois has systematically, over many years, underfunded its public pension plans in the amount of $80 billion dollars.
Eighty. Billion. Dollars.
And despite not making those payments, and despite not paying the U of I $400 billion dollars, and despite not paying doctors and social service agencies and despite ignoring crumbling infrastructure, and a host of other such bogus and shortsighted money-saving policies...the State of Illinois is running a budget deficit this year of $13 billion.
So, once this system is reduced to a shadow of itself, which will have happened by a year from now, there will never be the resources to restore it. It would take a national economic boom the likes of which this country hasn't seen since 1946. And even if there were such a time (which I think would be possible to envision only after smoking a big fat bag of crack), the U of I's reputation will have been wrecked in the academic hiring market forever. If you were a first-rate job candidate, and you were on the market a few years from now, would you go to a university that has just gone through radical downsizing of departments and now promises that, don't worry, your job is safe?
Here's the irony--our tuition revenues are up, and our enrollments are up, and to all appearances the institution is thriving, as long as you don't know about the fiscal nightmare that is unfolding.