NIU hiring freeze a burden to students

By Ryan Chambers

Brandon Wilbon, sophomore industrial engineering major, has been looking for a job since last year.

“I am currently in debt in school and it [job freeze] is forcing me to use other means, such as student loans, to pay for my education,” Wilbon said.

The hiring freeze, which was put in place last year by NIU President John Peters due to lack of funding from the state, is affecting students, freshmen and seniors alike.

Steve Cunningham, associate vice president for administration and human resources, said the university is only hiring for positions necessary to maintain academic and student services.

“This includes a hard hiring freeze for new and vacant appointments, except for critical hires in the academic division required to maintain instructional and student services, and other exception-based essential appointments directly approved by the president and vice presidents on a case-by-case basis,” Cunningham said .

With a number of students unable to obtain campus employment, some see the hiring freeze as unfair.

“I don’t think it is right,” said Dustin Mertens, junior business administration major. “The state does, and will for many years to come, owe us money, and I don’t think we will overcome that.”

Though the hiring freeze is hitting the university hard, job opportunities are still available on campus, Cunningham said.

“The university consistently employs approximately 5,000 student employees every academic year, and continues to rely on student employees for a wide variety of functions across the university organization.”

Some students think it is just a matter of working where employment opportunities are available.

“I know a lot of guys who have jobs,” said Antawan Martin, senior general studies major. “Sometimes you got to put pride aside and work in the dorms if that means you’ll get paid.”

Delonte LeFlore, vice president of finance for Residence Hall Association, said since the hiring freeze, RHA has been taking steps to improve the situation as well.

“Housing and Dining has implemented new CAs [community advisors] to reduce the CA to resident ratio from one to 50, to one to 25,” LeFlore said.

“What this does is increase more job opportunities to students to reduce some of those costs of going to school, such as housing and dining.”

When asked how much longer the hold would be in effect, Cunningham said it depends on the fiscal situation.

“I anticipate that limitations on hiring new and replacement positions will continue for some time in the future,” he said.