More than 70 university employees subject to layoff because of state budget cuts

University administrators notified 77 employees Friday that their positions were subject to layoff.

Chancellor Rita Cheng said several of the positions will not be laid off completely but will have a reduced appointment or teaching load.

A notice of possible layoffs of non-tenure track faculty was sent to the president of the Non-Tenure Track Faculty Association, Anita Barrett, June 18.

Continuing full-time NTTFA members had to be notified by Friday if the layoffs were necessary, and all other part-time and non-continuing faculty must be notified by July 20. The deadlines are part of new language in the collective bargaining agreement signed in November the night before the union said they would go on strike if an agreement was not reached.

Cheng said 63 of the employees notified of layoff are in the Southern Regions Early Childhood Program which is funded by a state grant. She said the grant is usually renewed in August but the university had to take precautions in case it is not. If the grant is not renewed the university will not be able to absorb the program, she said.

“Should the State of Illinois grant funding be renewed as in past years, we will contact the laid off employees as soon as we are notified,” Cheng said in an email.

In an email to the NTTFA Friday, administrators said 14 non-tenure track faculty members from different departments on campus will be laid off, Barrett said.

Cheng said the 14 employees were notified because of state budget cuts. State funding to the university was cut by 6.14 percent which reduces the state budget for Fiscal Year 2013 from $217 million to $213 million.

“Most of our budget reductions are being addressed by not hiring and leaving positions from over 400 recent retirements vacant,” she said. “However, salary savings from not hiring are not enough to handle the entire budget reduction.”

Barrett said in the press release the cost savings by the layoffs are minimal when salaries are considered.

“Non-tenure track faculty members are paid a fraction of what others are in similar roles at SIU,” she said. “Even in view of the current financial situation in the state, it does not make sense to cut the most affordable faculty members. We view the non-tenure track faculty as part of the solution, not the problem. For these and other reasons, we find today’s layoff decision unacceptable and will vigorously pursue all remedies.”

Cheng said as the university works through other implications from state budget cuts it is possible more layoffs will be necessary.

Check dailyegyptian.com for more updates on this story. 

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