Community reacts to CSU layoffs

It's been a roller coaster ride for those at Chicago State University on the city's far South Side.

With no state budget - cuts and layoffs have been looming over the college for months and last week the state appeared to have thrown the university a 20 million dollar bone, but then it was announced one third of the staff was being laid off.

The school year was cut short by a couple weeks this year to save money and graduation was bumped up.  Students and faculty don't know what to think about their future here at CSU. 

Demonstrators brought their message downtown Saturday to the NFL Draft Town and specifically right on to Lake Shore Drive. Police arrested 17 people out of the group speaking out against police brutality and the massive budget cuts at Chicago State University.

Reverend Jesse Jackson also made a commitment to stand up for the South Side university.

“We will fight back, we will march, we will engage in civil disobedience whatever is required to keep that school open,” said Jackson.

Just one day after a campus celebration as 900 seniors graduated - the school made an announcement, effective immediately 300 non-faculty employees will be laid off. 

“I kept getting knocks on my office door, people saying farewell and it’s just frustrating, it hurts,” said CSU professor of education Garrard McClendon.

He said the 20 million dollars they received from the state last week was welcome, but not nearly enough.

“That will get us through summer school when it comes to fall it's up in the air,” said McClendon.

The 20 million dollars from the state is less than 60 percent of what the school had counted on from Springfield. Tsureyah Gaddis, a pre-physical therapy student, said some professors are wondering, what next?

“They don’t know if they are going to be asked back or if it's going to be here,” said Gaddis. “Some professors are saying they are coming back.”

She doesn't know what to think about her own future and hopes her 4 years here don't go to waste.

“For the credits to transfer because other than that I have to pretty much start those classes over,” said Gaddis.

Reverend Jackson is demanding the governor and state lawmakers take action and keep providing the predominantly minority - low income student population a place to grow and learn.

“He has betrayed the people,” said Jackson. “Certainly makes more sense to invest in these youth on the front side then lock them up on the backside.”

It appears summer school will continue but no one is really sure about next year.  The students are being encouraged to register for fall classes.