WSIL -- Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is laying off nearly 80 employees.
It includes 51 civil service employees, 24 non-tenure faculty members and two administrative professionals.
The layoffs were announced Wednesday morning in a memo by Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell.
"It's a tough day, a difficult day. But it's part of our need to realign the budget in the face of challenges that we have," said Rae Goldsmith, a spokeswoman for SIU.
Those challenges include enrollment, which has been declining for years.
But the more immediate and bigger problem is the Illinois budget crisis. The state is nearing two full years without a budget.
It has already forced the university to cut tens of millions of dollars from its budget.
In March, the university announced it would need to cut an additional $19 million for the upcoming fiscal year.
"This is certainly a much bigger impact, in part, because it's the second major cut we're taking in the period of a year," said Goldsmith.
The university filled most of the void, about $10 million, by not filling vacant positions. But officials say lay offs could not be avoided.
"We built much of our permanent reduction on vacant positions in order to avoid layoffs, but unfortunately, layoffs and the non-renewal of some contracts are unavoidable," said Colwell.
It might not be the last cut SIU sees.
Colwell said the number of workers who lose their jobs could grow "as our academic leadership works to balance our budgetary challenges and instructional needs for fall."
And with lawmakers unable, or unwilling, to pass a state budget, and a governor's race heating up, political analysts fear the state could go four years without a budget.
"After today it becomes somewhat more likely, maybe even a lot more likely," said John Jackson with the SIU Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.
The layoffs will take effect at the end of June.
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