ATHENS (WCMH) — On Friday, Ohio University implemented the first significant personnel reduction in response to the financial impact resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. 140 employees in the University’s American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) bargaining unit were notified that their positions will be eliminated effective May 31.
President M. Duane Nellis shared details of the pandemic’s impact on the University in a message to faculty and staff on Tuesday, April 28. Those impacts include previously unanticipated reductions in state funding and projected enrollment impacts in fiscal year 2021, as well as almost $18 million in housing and dining refunds.
Prior to the pandemic, Ohio University had already implemented a series of measures to reduce costs, inclusive of offering voluntary separation agreements and early retirement incentives and enacting spending controls on external costs.
In addition to the elimination of 140 filled positions, vacant positions equivalent to 32.25 full-time employees and 17 positions vacated through the ERIP program will remain unfilled.
With a total of 189.25 eliminated positions, Ohio University anticipates saving more than $11 million through this reduction in force.
A statement from Ohio University read in part:
The unprecedented impact that this crisis will have on our university has increased the need for budget reductions and heightened the urgency.
The majority of the institution’s operational costs are in its employees, which requires the University to make extremely difficult decisions regarding our workforce, including today’s action. Ohio University recognizes and regrets the difficult impact this will have on our valued employees, their families, and our community at large.