Facing a possible 10 percent cut by the state to higher education funding, University departments are looking at their budgets and their staffs and expecting to remove a total of 200 positions by the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.
University President Mary Sue Coleman announced employee and position cuts in an e-mail sent last week to the University community. “The cut (Gov. Jennifer Granholm) proposes will amount to a $36 million reduction for the Ann Arbor campus. In addition, we have another $50 million of increased costs for 2003-04 that we need to address,” Coleman said in her e-mail.
“We estimate at this time that approximately 200 staff positions will be eliminated as a result of the budget reduction,” she added. “Many of these reductions in personnel are already occurring through the elimination of vacant positions and through natural attrition; but in some areas, layoffs will be necessary as a last resort.”
While the cuts will happen university-wide, several full-time employees working for the University libraries are already feeling the effects.
Director Bill Gosling announced last week the reduction of 15 filled, full-time positions and 16 vacant positions. In addition, 15 full-time positions will be reduced to part-time.
Gosling said many of the libraries’ staff reductions occurred through eliminating administrative positions. The libraries’ Office of Public Relations and Communications was eliminated, as well as some cataloging positions.
“We were looking to protect the scholarly and academic programs and draw more heavily on the administrative areas,” Gosling said. “That process identified positions across all job families and a range of seniority. They were those positions that we determined would have the lesser impact on meeting the libraries’ scholarship focus.”
The employees affected by the layoffs have already been notified and released from their positions. Employees who have worked for the University for more than 10 years will receive 90 days pay, while others will receive 30 days pay.
Wanda Monroe, the former head of library public relations, said she was disappointed by the decision to eliminate the office, but she added that she is hoping to gain future employment through other University departments.
“I understood that their budget situation is serious. I have known that for some time,” said Monroe, who worked at the University for 14 years. “It’s difficult for all of those who received a reduction in staff notice. We are attempting to be optimistic and trying to find work within the University. People are looking at their budgets right now, so there isn’t a lot out there right now. I’m hoping that after things settle, there will be positions open.”
The staff reductions are just part of the cuts the libraries had to make in order to reduce $2 million from its budget, Gosling said. The libraries had to make reductions in other areas as well, including in supplies, facilities and equipment. In addition, the libraries’ hourly budget has been reduced, meaning that part-time employees may be affected as well.
“We have worked to protect the range of library services open to students and faculty,” Gosling said. “Library patrons may see a slower response time in some areas, such as in the shelving of some materials and the cataloging of new materials.”
The libraries are expected to be one of the areas most affected by the budget reduction – in part because they rely more heavily on state funding than other departments. But University Provost Paul Courant said the staff and position reductions will be “spread across the entire University,” though most departments have not yet announced which positions will be eliminated.
The position cuts are expected to cover an estimated $10 million of the $36 million budget reduction, Courant said.
“This is work that will continue day by day, person by person, position by position, dollar by dollar, through this summer,” Courant said. “What we don’t want to do is surprise anyone.”