November 15, 2013 - 1:07am
BY SAM GRINGLAS
University officials said no layoffs would result from the University’s planned integration of human resource and financial services into a principal center in a statement distributed to faculty Thursday.
Under the new Shared Services Center, University units will see most of their financial and human resources staff transferred to a central location. There, they will provide those services to the University at large, rather than a specific department or college.
Because the University units planned ahead for the center, 50 finance and human resources positions were unfilled over the last few months. These vacant positions allow the University to maintain positions for all current employees affected by the change, according to the statement.
Additionally, staff members who accept similar positions in the Shared Services Center will likely not see a decrease in their base salaries.
At the Senate Advisory Committee for University Affairs meeting Monday, faculty voiced concerns regarding the University’s handling of the change, including a University-issued gag order imposed to prevent department chairs from discussing shared services.
In the letter, University Provost Martha Pollack; Timothy Slottow, executive vice president and chief financial officer; and E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life, acknowledged the University’s failure to distinctly communicate the changes and seek input from the University community.
“It is clear we were not sensitive or consultative enough in the planning and communication of this initiative,” they wrote. “We deeply value every member of the university community, and regret that the early stages of the process did not live up to our shared values.”
The administrators added that the University did not clearly articulate available support for staff affected by the transition. The letter stated the University would provide training for every member who accepts a new position and expect the work in the new facility to be “of the highest caliber.” In addition, the University plans to provide support for units whose relocated staff held additional duties in the department or college.
“It is true that we sometimes have to make difficult changes to continue to protect the resources that are so vital to our core academic mission, but it is our responsibility to do so in the most respectful and supportive manner possible,” they wrote.