WIU staff and students rally to reverse 132 lay offs

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Faced with losing 8 percent of Western Illinois University’s staff, students and faculty members decided to fight back Wednesday afternoon.

More than 100 people gathered on the front steps of Sherman Hall to protest the 132 lay offs the administration announced last week. 

Kelley Quinn, one of the faculty members who was laid off, attended the rally.

“My lay off notice came as an email friday afternoon,” she said. “Our president says we’re all one family, one community. Boy, I call my mom or dad when there’s something going on. I don’t get it in an email.”

Quinn has been at WIU for 15 years. Now she’s one of 6,000 people rallying around an online petition called “Buy into WIU.”

“We’re hoping to send a message to the governor saying, ‘Please send us funding. Please help us save WIU,'” Quinn said.

The money would reverse the lay offs.

The peition also calls for a new board of trustees.

“We don’t feel like they’re involving us,” Quinn said. “There’s no transparency.”

The professors fear those cuts will hurt students. Freshman Hunter La Croix said it already has.

He planned on double majoring in math and physics, but both departments have seen major cuts.

“All of those overlap so terribly for me that it is going to be pretty impossible for me to attempt this double major,” he said.

That has him looking elsewhere.

“I thought I was going to be here for all four years,” La Croix said. “I’ve been filling out transfer applications already because of how much this intimidates me.”

Quinn said she hopes the students stay because the faculty will fight for them, but the future is still uncertain.

“I would love to get my job back,” Quinn said. “I hope to. I am not holding my breath.”
 

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