UT extends vacant position holds to address shortfall created by lower enrollment

October 30, 2015 | UToday
By Jon Strunk

Beginning Jan. 1, The University of Toledo will increase its current 60-day hold on replacing vacant positions to eight months in an effort to fill an estimated $11.5 million budget shortfall created in the fiscal year as UT’s enrollment did not meet budgeted estimates.

UT President Sharon L. Gaber said she understands the difficulty the move will create for some departments, but emphasized her desire to limit the negative impact to members of the University community and avoid the elimination of filled positions.

“I recognize the burden this will place on some departments, and I know that people in many areas are already performing increased duties as a result of prior cutbacks,” Gaber wrote. “However, when compared to laying off employees, hopefully all will agree that the hiring delay is a far preferable cost-savings measure to the long-term impact a layoff can have on an employee and his or her family members.”

Gaber said positions involved in direct patient care, admissions and enrollment activity, student services, or campus safety and security will be exempt from the eight-month hold.

Officials anticipate the eight-month hold will result in savings of $5 million or more during the first half of 2016, and the president emphasized that UT cannot use extra compensation to make up for the lack of personnel or no savings will be realized.

“Since the day I started at UT, I have made the commitment that during my presidency, this University will be open and transparent as we confront our challenges,” Gaber said. “I appreciate your cooperation in implementing this new strategy and your understanding as the UT community pulls together to continue serving our students and patients. Thank you for all you do that is contributing to our bright future.”

The president said additional ideas are under consideration to close the remaining budget shortfall and will be announced later this fiscal year.

Gaber also pointed to the shortfall in explaining the need for a partnership with enrollment consultant Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

“We’re working with Ruffalo Noel Levitz now to help ensure we don’t face budget shortfalls due to a lack of enrollment growth in the future,” she said. “The only way we’re going to be successful is to grow our way out of these challenges. And the only way we’ll grow is by recruiting and graduating strong students at the graduate and undergraduate levels.”

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