Peters proposes four-day summer workweek due to budget cuts

By Deanna Cabinian

In light of NIU’s reduced budget and the additional budget cuts that will be enacted if Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s recommendations go into effect, NIU President John Peters is asking employees to enter into a four-day workweek during the summer once again.

Peters said he realizes this kind of schedule is disruptive and more difficult to work with.

“However, the budget savings created last summer through building closures and the reduction in days of full operations suggest that this measure is well justified,” he said.

Peters said Human Resource Services will distribute specific summer work schedules to employees on campus. He said the Provost’s Office will organize and announce by Friday building closures and reduced hours of access for academic and student service facilities.

On Thursday, Peters will address the Illinois House Higher Education Appropriations Committee in Springfield about NIU’s budget cuts over the past three years and their effects on students, faculty and staff.

Blagojevich’s fiscal year 2005 budget calls for a 2 percent reduction in general revenue funding for all Illinois public universities, which translates to a $2 million reduction to NIU’s budget, Peters said.

NIU must take actions to protect its integrity and uphold the standards of protecting academic programs and services for students, protect jobs and salaries and not compromise on areas that affect health or safety, Peters said.

Therefore, Peters said, the restrictions that have been implemented including limits on hiring, position replacements and equipment purchases must continue.

“With respect to the four-day summer workweek and other tough measures that we have been forced to implement, I have and will continue to consult with the leadership of our faculty and staff shared governance councils,” Peters said.