Writing for the Cincinnati Inquirer, Kate Murphy reports that Northern Kentucky University will eliminate “more than 100 faculty and staff positions” to cover an $8 million budget shortfall.
The announcement came on the heels of a ruling by Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate that “Gov. Matt Bevin can cut the budgets of public colleges and universities without the approval of the state legislature . . . [because] Bevin was not adjusting the colleges’ appropriation, which is something only the state legislature can do. He was just ordering them not to spend all of it.”
For Northern Kentucky University, the reduction in state support amounts to $2.2 million. Since 2008, the university “has looked to extract efficiencies in terms of operating costs,” but, according to its president Geoff Mearns, it has “’already captured the low-hanging fruit’ and had to resort to personnel cuts.”
In all, 37 faculty positions will be eliminated, saving the university $3.5 million. The tenure-line positions that are being eliminated have resulted from retirements that have already occurred or that will occur over the next year as faculty “take advantage of the phased retirement program.” But the faculty in six non-tenure track positions have already been notified that their contracts will not be renewed beyond the next academic year. The eliminated positions represent six percent of the current faculty numbers.
According to the administration the full-time positions that have been eliminated “were selected by chairs, deans and the provost because they can be replaced with ‘capable and qualified’ adjuncts.”
In addition to the faculty positions, the university will “eliminate 68 staff and management positions,” saving the university an additional $4.5 million.
The university’s regents chairman Nathan Smith said, “’These are challenging times for higher education around the country, especially here in Kentucky.” Nonetheless, President Mearns tried to put a positive spin on the situation: “’Our overall financial position is strong because we have managed our resources prudently and haven’t had to borrow against our future. In fact, we continue to invest in our future. The quality of our academic programs has never been stronger. We will continue to innovate and thrive.’”
Kate Murphy’s complete article is available at: http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2016/05/18/nku-cuts-more-than-100-faculty-staff/84540004/.