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Impact of budget shortfall in UNC system results in 15 WSSU positions being eliminated

On March 31, 2011

        As part of its efforts to reduce its overall budget, Winston-Salem State announced March 31 that it is eliminating 15 filled positions.

       "Given the current economic conditions that we know will affect the entire University of North Carolina system, we have to begin to take immediate actions to reduce our operating costs for the 2011-2012 fiscal year," Chancellor Donald J. Reaves said. 

"While we still do not know the extent of the reduction we will see in our state allocations for the coming year, we could not afford to wait until the state budget was finalized to make changes."

WSSU has seen a $20.9 million decrease in state funding since the 2008-2009 budget and has continued to take steps necessary to adjust its spending including a hiring freeze for non-critical positions and reduced purchasing for non-instructional materials and travel.  Additionally, there was a 27 percent increase in tuition implemented last year.

"Our goal of delivering the quality educational services that our students are entitled to while operating within the constraints created by the state budget shortfall has created a challenging environment on our campus and across the system," Reaves added. 

"Eliminating jobs is a hard thing to do because it affects our employees, their families, friends, co-workers and the community.

"With substantially less money to work with, however, we must ensure that our funds are spent in the most effective way and that resources are available for our highest priorities," the chancellor said. 

"I also know that, depending on the final budget, we may have to make additional difficult decisions.  Yet, we cannot and we will not lose our focus on the core business of the University which is teaching, research and service."

It is anticipated that eliminating the 15 filled positions will save WSSU approximately $1,000,000.  These positions are located in various operational areas of the University and are both management and support staff.  The University will eliminate up to 80 unfilled positions if necessary to meet budget requirements for next year.  Those positions would come from staff and faculty jobs that are open.

"While eliminating vacant positions may sound reasonable, it will require the careful reallocation of duties in impacted areas to prevent further harm to our institutional effectiveness efforts," Reaves said. 

"On the staff side, many of our administrative offices have not kept pace given the growth in enrollment over the past decade.  Another reduction could severely impact the services we provide for our students and the necessary support for staff and faculty.

"We have used the funds from vacant faculty positions to maintain the adjunct faculty necessary to provide the flexibility we need in responding to changing needs and for the harder-to-fill permanent faculty positions such as those in the health sciences.  Additionally, reducing faculty positions will mean that there will be heavier teaching loads for the remaining faculty and that they will probably have larger classes. Those changes will impact the faculty's ability to interact and support individual students in their classes.  It also may mean a reduction in the number of class sections we are able to offer, and that can impact students' abilities to graduate in a timely manner."

The University's human resources staff will be working with each employee whose job was eliminated to help them understand their severance benefits and their options for employment if that is applicable, as well as explaining the outplacement services and employee assistance programs that are available.

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