by Irma Voigt
After Illinois’s state colleges and universities received word of urgent and immediate budget cuts, campus leadership across the state scrambled to continue daily operations with minimal impact.
“It is our hope that students, faculty and staff not directly feel the effects of these cuts,” said Dr. Amy Hale, Chancellor of Illinois College of Joliet. “Our administration worked tirelessly to cut where it would have the least impact.”
Hale’s statement, delivered as part of her biannual address to the campus community, fell on empty stomachs, according to those in attendance.
“Bizarre. It’s the only way I can describe it,” said Dr. Bruce Whitesell, professor of bioentanglement.
Whitesell explained that the campus community received invitations in late November to attend the campus breakfast this week, which occurs at the beginning of each semester. Rather than the buffet and continental breakfast promoted by the invitation, empty chafing dishes lined the buffet tables.
“The sterno fuel cans were lit,” said Whitesell. “There were even serving utensils and plates. Catering staff dismissed us by table to the buffet and told us to enjoy our meals.”
“I ask that in the spirit of saving money and a return to our creative roots, you all imagine the food we could have had under better circumstances,” Hale said during her address after she pantomimed sipping water from the glass on the podium.
At Chicago University, the first cuts were made in the technology budget.
“I felt that was the most appropriate place to start,” President Derek Hathaway wrote in an e-mail to the faculty and staff.
“I have no idea what was in the e-mail,” said Lori Stock, Associate Director of Greek Affairs. “When I came into my office after winter break, there was a note that my computer was sent on furlough.”
In its place, Stock claims, was a Fisher Price Play & Learn Laptop for ages 24- to 36-months. Stock said that she has not been able to connect her new laptop to the university’s wireless network.
“I would expect that people learn to adapt,” Hathaway said. “These changes should not negatively impact productivity. Rather they should spark imaginations and allow our community to use the best resource we have–our creativity, despite this less-than-desirable budget situation.”