Director of housing says approximately 50 full-time staff affected by East Campus closure

By Brandi Courtois and Kallie Cox, Staff Reporters

There were approximately 50 full-time staff members affected by the recent closure of East Campus, according to Jon Shaffer, director of housing.

“Probably about half of them have found work in other areas on campus,” Shaffer said. “The chancellor is very dedicated to getting as many of them working as we can. Unfortunately with layoffs you can’t bring everyone back, right? But at least half of those folks are working somewhere on campus.”

Shaffer said as soon as something pops open the university will call them back to work.


“Hopefully next year enrollment goes back up [and] we’ll be back in the towers and everyone can go back to work,” Shaffer said.

Lori Stettler, vice chancellor of student affairs, said there are still some employees in layoff status, but the university is working hard to make sure those employees are given top priority for job openings on campus.

Stettler said the university shifted as many positions as they possibly could over to West Campus.

“There were many staff members that were picked up by different offices or filled different positions across campus,” Stettler said.

Stettler said the university only hired as many graduate students as were needed. With drop outs and graduation, no grad students lost their jobs as a result of the East Campus closure.

Stettler said to get accurate and exact numbers, the Daily Egyptian would have to contact the university’s human resources department.

Jennifer Watson, director of human resources, said the university is “working through this process with employees that were affected.”


Watson did not give any exact numbers as to how many staff members were fired, transferred or otherwise affected.

Stettler said if Illinois gets its financial house in order, gets financially healthy and enrollment continues to go up, the university will look at going back to their master plan.

“Our master plan […] is to build new housing on this campus,” Stettler said.

Stettler said university housing doesn’t receive state money.

“It is completely operated on the room and board fees that students pay,” Stettler said.

Stettler said the decision to close the towers on East Campus was made cooperatively between Chancellor Carlo Montemagno, Shaffer, and herself.

On Aug. 20 Montemagno said to a legislative panel the university didn’t close the towers for economic reasons.

“We closed the towers because we had the ability to bring all of the students in one location,” Montemagno said.

(See more: SIUC, Carbondale community give testimony on funding and future of university system)

Shaffer said SIU is housing the same percentage of students in the dorms as it always has, but because enrollment is down, it did not need to utilize the towers.

Shaffer said there’s a misperception about the housing department cramming extra people into West Campus.

“It’s the same number of beds,” Shaffer said, “They’re full, but it’s the same number of beds that there has always been.”

Shaffer said one of the differences between this year and the last couple years is University Hall has not been as full as it is this year.

Last year there were only 60 or 70 people living in University Hall, but this year there’s 370 residents, Shaffer said.

“It’s very full this year, in fact,” Shaffer said. “It’s a great community over there. It’s very active, very vibrant.”

Stettler said for this year the East Campus housing buildings are going to sit but they would be kept operational.

The university can’t fill all of the student positions right now, Shaffer said.

“We are hiring like crazy,” Shaffer said, “So, anybody looking for a job, march over to Lentz right now.”

Staff reporter Brandi Courtois can be reached at or on Twitter at @CourtoisBrandi.

Staff reporter Kallie Cox can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @KallieC45439038.

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