Government shutdown enters 16th day, college campuses impacted

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- Even with the U.S. Senate reaching a deal to end the government shutdown, multiple employees and staff at public universities had to go home with out pay Wednesday.

We've seen funding cuts impact a variety of jobs in different sectors, and Wednesday the newest wave of furloughs hit in higher education. It takes pay away from faculty, staff and at least one student we met who said his campus job is his only way of paying for college.

As the majority of students and teachers on the Arkansas-Little Rock campus went about college as any normal day Wednesday, nearly 50 members of faculty, staff and students were sent home without pay because of the government shutdown.

"I've been really relying on this job to take care of me, pay my bills and all of that," said junior pre-med student Andersen Lafont. "I'm tight every month. I have just enough to take care of car insurance, gas, rent."

Lafont is a researcher for the UALR's nanotechnology center. It's a full-time, paid position that gives him a head-start for a career in medicine or biology, that is until he was furloughed from the job.

"I don't think any of us, that's why it was such a big surprise. We didn't think it would trickle down so far because a lot of our grants are kind of up front deals," Lafont said.

Since the issue now hits closer to home for the New Orleans native, he's written his legislators displaying frustration over the matters in Washington.

"As of this date I am furloughed," Lafont said about the letter. "That you know my job security is being held hostage you know, because of internal bickering in the federal government."