At a town hall meeting on Thursday, UT President Lloyd Jacobs outlined a four-part budget adjustment that would call for a spring semester tuition increase, a university-wide furlough program and some layoffs.
The adjustment aims to fill the $8 million gap state cuts left in UT’s fiscal year 2010 budget trustees approved in June.
Jacobs said the decisions were tough but urged the University community not to see it as a reason to enter “survival mode.” The need to thrive is greater than ever, he said, and the proposed adjustment strategy is the best way to make sure that happens.
“The first one-quarter of that $8 million shortfall will be made up by the continued re-engineering and downsizing of the work force that unfortunately we’ve been experiencing for a year,” Jacobs said, adding it would be premature to guess at an exact number of layoffs.
The layoffs and downsizing of the work force will be balanced, Jacobs said, with a university-wide furlough program. The program, which will make up the second $2 million of the $8 million gap, is in the design phases, with details still being developed. But Jacobs said it will likely include every person in the institution on staggered days concentrated when students are not on campus.
“The balance between furloughs and layoffs is one that we have considered and debated,” Jacobs said. “Furloughs affect everyone … everybody is treated more or less the same. On the other hand, the analysis of the 7 and 15 percent scenarios that were discussed extensively during the original budget process suggest that there is still some room for work-force downsizing. Balancing those seems not only wise, but fair.”
A spring tuition increase will make up the third portion of the budget adjustment.
“There will be no tuition increase this fall,” Jacobs said. “In keeping with our promise, it doesn’t seem fair to increase tuition after students are registered. However, the plan is that there will be a tuition increase in the spring.”
Jacobs said he would recommend that the spring tuition increase be the statewide increase cap of 3.5 percent.
The final $2 million will be made up of the reorganization and elimination of some University programs. This includes, Jacobs said, the possible closure of a residence hall dining hall and doing away with the perfect attendance reward program for non-hospital portions of the institution.
“There are certain programs that don’t bring in money but are important because they are mission-driven,” Jacobs said. “As we work through these next many months, we have to take a very hard look at those to be certain that they are essential. That doesn’t automatically mean that if you’re not making money you’re going to be out the door.”
Jacobs said more specific details on all four parts of the strategy are still being worked out, and he acknowledged that the process is “tremendously painful.”
“We have always tried to do work-force downsizing in the most humane way possible,” he said, adding that a new program will try to ease the pain for those displaced by the layoffs.
It’s called UT Works and it will be rolled out soon, he said. The program will offer laid-off workers access to retraining classes, help with creating effective resumés, and priority bidding on vacant University jobs.
“This is not fun,” Jacobs said. “This is not great news, but at the same time we need to continue to recognize that at an institution like ours with the morale that we have, the commitment that we have and the belief that we have in one another, we can not only survive in these times, we can thrive. We can exemplify what it is to be an institution characterized by altruism and stewardship.”
The revised budget will be presented to the Board of Trustees Aug. 24.
The entire Town Hall Meeting can be viewed at http://video.utoledo.edu.