In response to the recent slew of letters from department chairs concerning the proposed Shared Services Center, the University released a statement noting the latest developments.

University administrators apologized to concerned department chairs Thursday about the lack of communication and clarity in their decision-making process about the center, which is expected to cut costs by $5 to 6 million by consolidating human-resource and finance services to a centralized location.

Timothy Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, sent an e-mail to faculty Wednesday correcting previous factual errors and clarifying the University’s relationship with Accenture, the consulting firm contracted for the project. The Accenture contract is valued at $11.7 million.

Slottow’s e-mail focused largely on a report released to faculty on Nov. 18 by purported alumni and graduate students concerning the University’s contractual relationship with the consulting firm. The report suggested Accenture was “taking over financial and IT management” at the University.

“I assure you that this is simply not true,” Slottow wrote in his e-mail Wednesday. “Well trained University of Michigan employees with deep expertise are managing our day-to-day finance and IT operations.”

Additionally, since Rowan Miranda, associate vice president for finance, previously worked for Accenture, Slottow said Miranda took himself out of the selection process “to eliminate any possibility of real or perceived bias.” The report had accused Miranda of a conflict of interest because of the involvement of his former employer in the Shared Service Center’s creation.

Addressing concerns that lower-income women were particularly burdened as part of the transitional staff, the statement said that planned Shared Service Center staff shares similar demographics with the rest of the University’s staff positions.

Three separate forums led by Laurita Thomas, associate vice president for human resources, were held during the week to provide more detailed information about the center’s organization and transition process. The current structure of the center will feature six functional lead positions and about 20 other leader roles.

Interim LSA Dean Susan Gelman reiterated in an e-mail interview that there will be no layoffs in the transitional process and voiced her support for staff members’ moving to the center.

“In my view, this was the most urgent of all the concerns that have been raised regarding AST, and it is tremendously reassuring that our staff will continue to have a place within the university,” she wrote.

During the public comment portion of Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting, two faculty members and one graduate student expressed concerns about the Shared Services Center.

Women’s Studies Prof. Celeste Brusati, Rackham student Elizabeth Walker and Women’s Studies Prof. Maria Cotera all touched on similar points. Their comments were mostly concerned with the possible dehumanization of faculty members and lack of communication and interaction between faculty and students.

In her address to the regents, Walker said she chose the University’s graduate program over other competitive higher education institutions because of the interactions she had with staff on campus when she visited.

“I want you to realize that by doing this program you’ll be taking something vital from my education,” Walker said. “There is no possible way the staff could continue their level of service in a different location.”

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