NEIU prepares for ‘salary-savings program’

Second year of furloughs in effect soon



Protesters head to Springfield for the second “Statehouse Rally for Higher Education.”

Brett Starkopf, Editor-in-Chief

For the second year in a row NEIU will begin preparing for a “salary-savings program” starting this spring semester announced Interim President Richard Helldobler in a Feb. 3 email to the NEIU community.

Helldobler said the “salary-savings plan” or “furlough program” is the “most fair and least intrusive way for Northeastern to survive financially through the summer months until fall tuition dollars become available.”

Without stop-gap funding and state appropriations, the 19-month budget impasse has NEIU, “experiencing the worst budgetary climate it has ever experienced in its history” and “there does not seem (to be) a solution in the near future,” Helldobler said.

The spring semester and May commencement ceremony will proceed as planned but, NEIU “must find ways to stay afloat beyond that,” Helldobler said.

It is unclear as of Feb. 4 what the salary-savings program will entail for faculty and staff as negotiations have yet to begin, though Helldobler said in his email that the “five collective bargaining units that represent Northeastern employees” have been reached. It is also unclear as to when the program will begin since negotiations could last “about four to five weeks.”

The furlough program last spring affected about 1,000 full-time faculty and staff by forcing them to take a one-day leave of absence per week, cutting their salaries by 20 percent. Employees who were 100 percent grant-funded, student aides, graduate assistants, adjuncts and work study employees were not affected by last year’s furloughs.

“The only thing that will keep us from a salary-savings plan, or furlough program, is receiving adequate funding from the state,” Helldobler said. “At the moment, that prospect looks grim.”

Helldobler also said in the email that should the school receive state funding “prior to” or “at the beginning” of the furloughs, the program will be halted temporarily while the school “discuss(es) options” about the financial situation.

Students, faculty and staff are requested by the Office of Student Leadership Development to attend the “Statehouse Rally to Save Higher Education” on Feb. 8. Bus transportation will be provided from the main campus to Springfield. Students are requested to be at school at 8 a.m. The buses depart from Parking Lot D at 8:30 a.m.

Students can email Student Affairs at [email protected] in order to reserve a seat on the bus.