February 2, 2011
Facing continuing budget challenges during the current year and a potential for as large as a 15 percent budget reduction in 2011-12, UNC Asheville has announced the elimination of 29 state-funded staff positions, which will result in the loss of jobs for seven current staff members.
In addition to the seven employees who will lose their jobs, four transfers are being effected to fulfill critical functions. Two administrator positions will be reassigned to the classroom and two staff members transferred to other departments.
All of the individuals whose jobs are being eliminated have received notice of separation, and will receive severance pay, pay for unused vacation and other accrued leave, 12 months of health insurance coverage, and assistance with job searches and employment counseling. Those subject to the State Personnel Act will also receive priority re-employment rights at any state agency for two years. The university also will offer an option for retraining by taking courses through AB Tech at no cost to the separating employees.
“Managing this very uncertain budget landscape has been an ongoing challenge for the past two years. This year’s 10 percent cut is in addition to a 10 percent permanent cut in 2009.” said John Pierce, vice chancellor of finance and operations.
“The latest round of job eliminations and reassignments are part of the university’s strategy to plan for cuts of 10 percent of next year’s budget - - a reduction of about $4 million. If the legislature approves requested tuition increases, that revenue would offset roughly 4 percent of that amount, leaving 6 percent ($2.5 million) to be reduced in 2011-12. These job reductions in the current fiscal year, combined with elimination of the majority of adjunct instructors and one-year lecturers, will meet that goal and are necessary to avoid even deeper cuts next year,” said Pierce.
In making the staffing reductions, the university chose to eliminate staff positions that are furthest away from the academic experience, target low-productivity programs, reduce middle management positions and eliminate duplication of job duties and services. No tenured or tenure track faculty positions have been lost. The university has tried to reduce cuts to the academic core to the extent possible but given the deep cuts required, that is no longer possible. Job cuts have been felt in every area of the university.
Prior to the most recent staff reductions, UNC Asheville employed 475 staff members and 226 faculty. Since 2009, a total of 72 staff positions have been eliminated at UNC Asheville.
Before implementing these cuts, the university had already reduced operating budgets, significantly reduced the use of adjunct instructors, imposed a moratorium on salary increases, reduced temporary positions and imposed limits on purchasing, travel and training expenses.
Although state agencies have been given permission to implement furloughs to meet budget restrictions in the 2010-11 year, there are no current plans to implement furloughs on the UNC Asheville campus. Because furloughs only result in one-time cost savings, they cannot be used to satisfy permanent budget cut requirements.However, the university will need to reassess this option if additional budget cuts are imposed later in the current year.
“Protecting the quality of the educational experience for our students is our highest priority, but when managing budget cuts of the magnitude that all UNC institutions are facing, the decisions we make are very painful. The current economic climate has caused us to focus on what we do best. We will emerge from this economic challenge a university intensely focused on academic excellence, and one that remains committed to our students’ success.” said Chancellor Anne Ponder.