Ohio University President Duane Nellis announced Friday that both instructional faculty members and administrators positions have been reduced, and an interim furlough policy will be implemented to mitigate the university’s current financial struggles.
One year notices for the non-renewal of employment contracts were issued to 53 instructional faculty members, according to a university news release. There are also 74 tenured faculty members who enrolled in the university’s Voluntary Separation or Retirement Program.
The university also notified 149 administrators that their positions were being removed.
However, due to university-wide realignment projects and the reorganization of departments, about 55 of those administrators will be rehired into new positions. The loss of 94 total administrators is expected.
“A lack of available work, reduced demand for certain programs and services, and necessary restructuring to improve operational efficiencies led to the choices that were made,” Nellis said in the release.
Nellis also said the university is doing all it can to support employees who have been impacted. OU is working with a third-party organization to provide support to employees transitioning after receiving a notice of non-renewal.
The third-party can help all employees to strengthen their resume, develop a career marketing plan or connect with recruiters, including the 140 employees who belong to American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees whose positions will be eliminated May 31.
“Today was a difficult day for our colleagues who received notifications,” Nellis said in the release. “Admittedly, it is an emotional day for us all. This simply is a very painful time during an unprecedented moment in our history as a community, a state, and a nation.”
The university also announced a tiered furlough plan that will begin during the next fiscal year, or July 1.
The furlough plan is part of an interim furlough policy. Nellis said he received constant feedback that any sort of furlough should be tiered in order to minimize harm for the university’s lower-level employees. The current university policy did not allow for a tiered structure, according to the release, so an interim plan was developed by the executive policy committee.
The furlough applies to all administrative, faculty and classified non-bargaining employees, according to the news release. It includes seven mandatory furlough days, which will extend OU’s winter and Thanksgiving breaks.
Any employee who makes over $38,000 a year will have between 10 to 18 furlough days, which can be taken at their discretion with the approval of their supervisor.
Any employee making under $38,000, or employees at the minimum Fair Labor Standards Act salary threshold, will also not be impacted by the wage reductions.
Employees making above $38,000 who are not at the minimum of their job classification’s pay scale will lose between 3.8% to 6.9% of their salary.
The furlough will save the university about $13 million, according to the news release.
Nellis and Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs announced they would each take a 15% pay cut for the upcoming fiscal year, according to a previous Post report. Members of the President’s Council and Deans Council have also been asked to take a pay cut of 10% or more for the upcoming year.
Some vice presidents and deans, Athletic Director Julie Cromer, Head Football Coach Frank Solich and Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jeffrey Boals have already voluntarily cut their pay, according to the release.
The university also launched a new budget website this week. The site contains links to resources and updates on the university’s financial decisions, according to the release.
“As we continue to face difficult decisions, we have every reason to be hopeful for the future of Ohio University,” Nellis said in the release. “Our University has weathered crises and storms in our 216-year history and become stronger, evermore ready to realize our mission, while increasing the value of an Ohio University experience for students.”