Tough economic times for higher ed
To meet state budget restrictions, Kansas University will eliminate 11 currently filled jobs and not fill 110 open positions on its Lawrence campus.
The 11 layoffs represent 10.5 full-time equivalent positions. Seven of the 11 positions have come from the Department of Student Success, which oversees several different university programs, including the Department of Student Housing, the KU Memorial Unions and other academic support programs, Lynn Bretz, university spokeswoman, said Wednesday.
The employees will be given opportunities to find other KU jobs; one has already been placed in another job, Bretz said, and another is moving from full time to half time.
The jobs for nine won’t be affected until June 30, which is the end of KU’s current fiscal year. One won’t be affected until January 2010.
“It is painful for employers to have to sit down and tell employees they’re losing their jobs,” Bretz said, adding it’s always a last resort for the university.
Of the 110 open positions being cut, 55 are faculty positions and 55 are nonfaculty, Bretz said.
“We don’t have a hiring freeze” at the university, Bretz said. “But we’ve really, really slowed down our hiring.”
The reductions should be sufficient to meet the 7 percent — or $10.8 million — in cuts mandated by the Legislature for fiscal year 2010, but Bretz warned that additional reductions in funding could mean additional losses.
KU has also made other adjustments to meet the budget requirements. Bretz said the university has trimmed travel and technology costs, cut or delayed equipment purchases and transitioned the campus faculty newsletter to online-only, among other cuts.
In August, the Kansas Board of Regents asked its universities to prepare for 7 percent budget cuts. Then, KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway wrote in a memo that cutting faculty positions would negatively affect the university.
“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.
The cuts are being made across the university, Bretz said, with the provost asking individual deans to make cuts as they see fit in their departments.
KU is currently running ahead of projections made in August, when the university predicted it would have to eliminate about 100 positions to meet a 7 percent reduction in funds.
The layoffs represent the first set of KU reactions to budget cuts, Bretz said.
A previous set of layoffs of 10 people in KU’s Information Services department last year was part of a separate efficiency measure, and was unrelated to state budget issues, Bretz said.