NEIU faculty meet with IL senator over damaging cuts


CHICAGO — “The leadership has failed us. We need help.”

Those are the words of Dr. Olivia Perlow, Sociology professor and Chair of the African American Studies Department at Northeastern Illinois University.

NEIU faculty and professors met with State Senator Ram Villivillam Tuesday afternoon to address grievances they have with the university’s president — Gloria J. Gibson — and their board of trustees over damaging cuts that have slashed departmental chairs and allegedly reinforced the school’s declining enrollment.

Dr. Olivia Perlow, who chairs two other departments on top of African American Studies, pointed toward the College of Arts and Sciences dropping from 17 to eight department chairs as a major reason why enrollment is dropping as well.

“At this very moment, we have 3,500 students going into the Spring,” Perlow said.

According to Perlow, that number is just a quarter of what the school’s enrollment was 10 years ago.

Students at the university said the cuts have led to some classes not being available, affecting their ability to graduate on time.

“I’m a sociology major … planning on being a poli-sci minor and only half of those classes are available,” said NEIU junior Daniel Mauer.

The board of trustees voted not to retain Gibson as president, but she said she’s still going to do her best to help NEIU through the end of her term in June.

“I am committed to working with the faculty and the university community to move Northeastern forward to grow our enrollment and support and retain our students,” Gibson said in a statement.

Last fall, Faculty leadership delivered a vote of no confidence in the board of trustees and Gibson as President, which led to the meeting with Villavillam.

“We need to make sure [the university] is working,” Villavillam said. “We need to make sure that more is done to ensure we are providing that talent to our workforces.”

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