With the administration’s announcement of unit A faculty layoffs yesterday, the bloodletting in the wake of the state’s budget crisis has apparently concluded, at least for this academic year. Scores of valuable university employees—staff, faculty, and even some unfortunate or poorly connected administrators—have lost their jobs in a predictable denouement to years of cronyism, incompetence, malfeasance, and stunning administrative mismanagement. Although the situation in Illinois is dire, misery on this scale simply did not have to happen. The anguish and uncertainty felt by the victims of this travesty could have, and should have been avoided. More on this in subsequent posts.
For this time, the appropriate response seems to be sadness. Sadness for everyone affected by this disgrace. I cannot imagine how our colleagues and friends must feel. Sadness for the university as it descends further into academic irrelevance, as it vitiates programs in Arts and Sciences and Education, as it dismantles admissions, advising, purchasing, financial aid, teacher certification, and other programs vital to the operation of any purported educational institution.
At a time like this, it is difficult to think of anything remotely appropriate to say. To all our blameless friends and colleagues swept away by this foul tidal wave: your presence enriched us and your dedication inspired our students. What remains is impoverished by your absence. Thank you.