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The "Crisis of Confidence" series is a multi-year effort by the Tri States Public Radio to document the impact the two-year state budget impasse had on Western Illinois University and the ongoing recovery efforts at WIU. State support for public higher education institutions has been steadily declining in Illinois for more than a decade. But the issue was compounded, during the state's historic two-year budget impasse during Fiscal Years '16 and '17 which left public colleges and universities with little state financial support. At Western Illinois University, that drastic cut in state appropriations resulted in significant budget cuts, employee furloughs, and layoffs.

Western Faculty Take Photo in Solidarity

A few dozen faculty members from Western Illinois University gathered on the steps of Sherman Hall for a group photo on Friday, the eve of Illinois entering a third fiscal year without a state budget. The gathering was organized in an effort to show solidarity and support for the union's  Unit B faculty.
They are the associate faculty who are not tenure track. More than 100 of them have not yet received a teaching contract for the fall semester.

Western administrators have said they are taking a wait-and-see approach to renewing contracts. Meanwhile, in Springfield, state lawmakers continue to debate a budget deal.

The university has not provided a timeline for when associate faculty members should expect to hear if they will be employed in the fall.         

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.