Archive for Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hemenway: If budgets suffer, staff positions will be cut

KU would have to cut up to 125 employee positions in Lawrence if talked about budget cuts become reality.

August 20, 2008, 4:59 p.m. Updated August 20, 2008, 6:38 p.m.


— Kansas University would have to cut up to 125 employee positions in Lawrence if talks about budget cuts become reality.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway told members of the Board of Regents during its annual retreat in Wichita that if 5 percent was cut from next year's budget, there was no way students wouldn't be affected.

"We would have to cut between 100 and 125 positions, and that's just on the Lawrence campus," he said. "The medical center cut would be something similar. We hope we don't have to do that."

KU employed about 8,000 people on both campuses last year.

On July 14, Duane Goossen, Kansas budget director, asked state colleges and universities to prepare a list of possible cuts that could be made.

Higher education officials were asked to consider two scenarios: a 2 percent cut this year and a 5 percent cut the next.

While unpleasant, Hemenway said, a 2 percent cut would be manageable.

According to the memo Hemenway submitted to the regents, KU would delay purchasing equipment for classrooms and offices. But Hemenway noted the university's technology has lagged behind other universities. KU would also reduce its operating expenses. In "times when supplies are exhausted; faculty and staff will do without," he proclaimed in the memo.

Some faculty development activities, such as research and professional conference travel, would also be trimmed.

The largest impact - the staff cuts - would come from the possible 5 percent cut next year.

"The continued failure to hire faculty creates a lack of expertise in emerging fields, gaps in future leadership cohorts, and undermines overall institutional reputation," Hemenway wrote.

K-State leaders said similar cuts would be necessary there. President Jon Wefald said K-State would have to implement a hiring freeze and cut back on purchasing technology.

K-State would need to cut about 180 positions and about 400 class sections, Wefald said.

Tuition increases - to cover any deficits - should be a last resort, he said.

"The goal should be to safeguard students," Wefald said.

Hemenway said that if it came to the point that tuition had to be raised, it had to be the last course of action.

"There's an important piece of rhetoric we need to keep in mind: the students come first," he said. "Helping students work to a degree has to be the first thing we do. If the students aren't there, there's no reason for us being there."

Emporia State, Wichita State, Fort Hays State and Pittsburg State leaders all agreed that if the cuts became reality, there was no way to protect students.

Fort Hays President Ed Hammond said regional universities would be especially affected, as larger chunks of their budgets come from the state.

Regent Gary Sherrer said the board needs to be honest with its budget proposal.

"No Chicken Little language," he said. "No BS. We want to say, 'I can prove this to you. If this is the budget I have to do, I can prove to you that there is no option but to impact the future of the students.' "

The regents must submit their recommendations to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius by Sept. 15.

After his presentation Wednesday, Hemenway said the university would brace for its impact, rather than scramble to adjust if it became reality.

"We'll prepare for 5 percent in 2010 and hope it's never implemented," he said.


Jeff Barclay 9 years, 8 months ago

Give me a break. Spend some of that exorbitant endowment!

jayhawks71 9 years, 8 months ago

Look at that, you say something and they fix it. Good!

Karl Rubis 9 years, 8 months ago

So, this comes out on the same webpage as the record amount of revenue from franchise sales?!

nobody1793 9 years, 8 months ago

Isn't this just a rehash of the article from two weeks ago?

Bladerunner 9 years, 8 months ago

"Kansas University would have to cut up to 125 employee positions" (none of which would be mine heh heh). Robert Hemenway

Hawk6643 9 years, 8 months ago

So they say that students won't suffer. But jobs will be cut. What about the hundreds of students that work on campus? I feel like they are more willing to fire a student worker than anyone else. I have worked at the university since I started at KU and this kinda scares me.

Boeing 9 years, 8 months ago

Glad Hemenway continues to blow his mouth off, making hard working staff members scared of what is to come all while he knows his job isn't going anywhere. A gentleman and a scholar.

kristenkim 9 years, 8 months ago

If money is so tight, why did they get all new desks in Wescoe's classrooms? The old ones were perfectly fine, as far as student desks go.

classclown 9 years, 8 months ago

It's no secret that Hemenway thinks of KU as "party central". Maybe he should lobby to get the drinking age lowered to 18 (though that may not be so important to him) and have KU start throwing keggers. That way KU can grab the student's- or as he likes to call them, party animals- drinking dollars. As an added bonus, KU can make more money by going after anyone else that throws a kegger or otherwise sells alcohol to any KU party animals - er... students - and suing them. You know... for somehow harming KU's image.A lot of money to be made by going after the student drinking dollar. Ku should squeeze it's students for every dime they can.

jayhawks71 9 years, 8 months ago

Did Hemenway SAY the following or was it a written press release?"There's an imporant piece of rhetoric we need to keep in mind: The students come first," he said. "Helping students work to a degree has to be the first thing we do. If the student's aren't there, there's no reason for us being there.""Imporant" is not a word and "student's" is not the plural of "student." A spell-checker would have caught the first one.

Phillbert 9 years, 8 months ago

Once again, we have the ridiculous line about KU not doing research. If some of these posters would actually read the stories they post on (which it seems like they'd have time for given the frequency of their posts) they'd know this isn't true. Hell, just type "grant" into the search bar and you get stories about a $10M research grant to KU, another $10M research grant and a $2.5M research grant -- all of which ran just in the last week: let's not get started on the completely false "KU is building a hotel" line.Finally, if you're mad about possible cuts, talk to your legislators - they're the ones with the money.

GSWtotheheart 9 years, 8 months ago

The last time it was like this there was a hiring freeze AND layoffs. Printing Services was not closed the last time there were layoffs. It was closed in a completely different year.Might want to get your facts straight before you post.

Brad Richardson 9 years, 8 months ago

They've changed the carpet at Watson Library three times in five years. They could cut Hemenway and save a hefty 400K a year. Bafoons!

stuckinthemiddle 9 years, 8 months ago

there are no "classified staff" at KU...and... KU has been through this again and again over the years...there were hiring freezes in the 70s, 80s and 90s...several years ago there were actual layoffs when they closed some down the Printing Press and some other operations...

Adrienne Sanders 9 years, 8 months ago

They would probably have to do little to no staff cuts as in actually firing people. They simply wouldn't replace people who leave. That's what happened ca. 2001 when financial times were bad.

Hope56 9 years, 8 months ago

Let me put in my two-cents' worth...I write quite a bit:1. In times when budget cuts are made, such as 2002: my "position" (a program of one staff member, me) was eliminated. Therefore, these things occur frequently in combination with hiring freezes. My "seniority" as a then-classisfied employee (now named "unclassified support staff" - "USS") was retained in the same unit, yet another person's position was cut. Read on. Help is available to find another position at KU, if one is USS, if one has enough "seniority." Who might lose a USS job?2. Recently-hired USS staff members on probation might get bumped from KU; a USS person with "seniority" would be assisted in finding a KU job where there is an opening, a job posting, or a "bump" situation. Unclassified Prof Staff have a year-to-year job per their appt. letter, and without cause, they can be "let go." KU can help them look for other KU jobs, yet there are no guarantees or seniority to guarantee they will be hired.3. When Chancellor Hemenway indicates 120 staff positions would be eliminated, he needs to be asked a further question: "Do you mean a broad use of the word staff to include administrators, faculty, USS employess, and Unclassified Professional staff?" I know it could be the latter two groups as they are usually the ones who are referred to as "staff." 4. Within the past two months at KU, I know from my colleagues of two positions to be definitely eliminated (one a USS employee who didn't want to have the position cut and a second position that will be eliminated due to a vacancy). The cost will be about $60,000 total. It will take a lot of employees like these to equal every million dollars that might be needed.5. It is time that will reveal the truth about which cuts are made. Human Resources and Equal Opportunity at KU can tell an employee his or her chances of continued employment if his or her position is cut. I actually think KU will use this time to "lean" things out per an inclination to use this as a time to clean house; may we hope for miracles so that some of the cuts--if not most--are done with an understanding that other colleagues cannot continue to carry the burden when positions are eliminated if and when those colleagues are already overworked and are not compensated for the extra work.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.