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Cutler Hall on Ohio University's campus in Athens, Ohio.

OU implements 140-employee reduction

Clarification: This article previously misinterpreted which faculty positions were being eliminated. These are simply examples of possible positions that could be eliminated.

Ohio University implemented the first “significant personnel reduction” of 140 employees May 1 in response to the financial impact from the coronavirus pandemic.

Examples of those people, whose positions will be eliminated May 31, are maintenance and grounds positions, custodial positions and some culinary positions, Carly Leatherwood, a university spokesperson, said.

There will also be the equivalent of over 32 full-time positions and 17 positions that will remain unfilled through the early retirement incentive plan, meaning there will be over 189 eliminated positions.

OU estimates that those reductions will save the university $11,317,926.

“This (is) our first significant personnel reduction,” Leatherwood said in an email.

Other reduction plans are currently being worked on and finalized, Leatherwood said.

The 140 employees were part of OU’s American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME. The union represents about 500 OU employees.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, OU had already implemented measures to reduce costs.

“Unfortunately, the unprecedented impact that this crisis will have on our university has increased the need for budget reductions and heightened the urgency,” Leatherwood said in an email.

On March 25, OU President Duane Nellis announced he would pause “personnel-related budget reductions” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a message to faculty and staff on April 28, Nellis said the university receives more information every day about revenue losses the pandemic brings to the university.

Nellis also said the personnel reductions were paused with the goal of supporting employees during the pandemic.

“We all hoped that disruption might be brief and that the impacts might only be temporary,” Nellis said. “That, unfortunately, is not the case.”

OU is preparing to receive $35 million fewer from state funding for the 2021 fiscal year, according to a previous Post report.

Leatherwood said OU recognizes and regrets the impact this has on employees, their families and the community.


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