AKRON—The University of Akron will let 178 employees go, about half of whom are members of the faculty.
The board of trustees approved these cuts in a meeting on July 15. Ninety-seven of those positions are members of the bargaining unit faculty, 21 are contract professionals and 60 are staff who are not part of a bargaining unit. Separation dates have yet to be determined but will be no sooner than two weeks from July 15.
"Given our financial challenges, brought on by the pandemic, coupled with our overall enrollment decline and our debt burden, it is critical that we be proactive and use every opportunity available to us to create sustainable financial stability for the university," board chair Joseph Gingo said.
The university estimates it will save about $16.4 million through the cuts.
President Gary Miller referenced reduced state funding, declining enrollment and the uncertainty caused by the surge in COVID-19 cases in Ohio as ongoing challenges faced by the university. He said personnel costs make up about 60 percent of the university's total budget, with the remaining expenditures being fixed costs.
Miller said the elimination of these positions wouldn't lead to the cuts of academic programs. He also noted that the college reorganization process the university recently conducted, as well as nonacademic program cuts, have contributed to a sustainable budget, but that more measures were needed.
"COVID-19 has presented us with many challenges, but through the recent efforts—and this one taken today—to reduce expenditures, we believe that we can emerge from these unprecedented times much stronger and ready to grow," Miller said.
In addition to the 178 positions being eliminated, the board accepted the resignation or retirement of another 84 employees. It also approved a tentative agreement with the Akron chapter of the American Association of University Professors, the faculty union at the university, that would reduce wages and increase health care premiums for members in fiscal year 2021. The agreement also would allow the university to implement furlough days if necessary.
Prior to the job cuts and voluntary separations, the university had 1,775 employees, the school said.