MACOMB, Illinois-- Illinois is starting its third straight year without a state budget, which could mean 118 professors at Western Illinois University could be out of a job.
"We've entered a newer and deeper period of economic and fiscal uncertainty," says the WIU chapter president of the University Professionals Union William Thompson.
Now the uncertain ones are the 118 faculty members at WIU who don't know if they'll have a job next school year.
Non-tenured professors were supposed to be told June 1, 2017 if the University would renew teacher contracts. Instead, the administration sent a letter to all 118 in Macomb and the Quad Cities saying their employment status would be delayed until further notice.
"At what point does a delayed decision become a layoff? Everyday that nothing happens, these people are going to get more and more insecure and more and more anxious. Prudence would suggest, start looking for a job," says Thompson.
Not having an Illinois state budget doesn't only affect faculty, but it also affects the students.
"It's terrible. Not having a budget is terrible because it creates more uncertainty on campus, so now you have a bunch of people with delayed contracts. That is not going to be a good message to parents and future students, says Thompson. That's what drives students to other institutions that feel safer, and out of state because they feel safer. They're going to go to schools where they think there's no danger of the school closing."
And while Western hasn't reached that point, a third year without a budget is certainly too long.