Job Cuts at Illinois Forgotten Downstate University
130 Western Illinois University employees lost their jobs today in Macomb. The university cites low enrollment, budget issues and the need to cut expenditures as the reason for the layoffs. This according to WQAD.
It sounds like the situation there is pretty bad. The WQAD story quotes a former professor saying morale is poor and there's a lot of nervous people on campus.
Western seems to be Illinois forgotten downstate university. I hadn't thought about it for years until I came to the Quad Cities. And that's mainly because Western has a Quad Cities campus.
Back in the 80's, when college was on my mind, it wasn't the state university many of my Chicago area friends seemed to consider. The party crowd went to Southern. The commuters to UIC. The really smart folks to U of I. The rest of them to Northern in DeKalb or Illinois State in Bloomington.
Even here in the QC, with Western being only 80 miles away, my friends with college age kids are sending them Iowa, Iowa State, Illinois State, but certainly not WIU. I get it. The truth is you can go to a lot of great schools and still be fairly close to home from the Quad Cities.
Would moving Western Illinois University to the Quad Cities help enrollment? Would a move like that put more cash in the school's bank?
After former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner floated a plan to place University of Illinois Satellite Campuses in numerous cities, including the Illinois Side of the Quad Cities, the Quad City Times had a bold editorial. Move Western Illinois University to Moline.
The thrust of their editorial was about the benefits the Quad Cities would get if Western Illinois relocated to Moline. Mainly, the economic opportunities that our region would see from the relocation. The economic opportunities that might help Western being in a bigger town. And the fact that yeah, for how big our region is, maybe a four year public university should be located here.
It certainly would change the Quad Cities for the better. Macomb for the worse. One thing isn't certain, that Western Illinois University would be any more popular a university here than Macomb among students. Especially those from the Chicago area.