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With Latest Layoffs, U. of Akron Has Lost Almost a Quarter of Its Faculty Since Pandemic Began

The University of Akron plans to cut 10 percent of its total staff, including nearly 100 full-time faculty members — the latest sign that the Covid-19 pandemic is set to take a severe toll on the higher-education work force.

The university’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Wednesday to eliminate 178 positions, including 96 unionized faculty members and 82 staff and contract professionals through layoffs. Taking into account previous layoffs and voluntary retirements, the university has eliminated about 23 percent of its unionized full-time faculty since the pandemic began. The university says the reductions in personnel have saved it $16.4 million — 5 percent of its budget for the 2020 fiscal year.

The layoffs must still be ratified by the union membership, and the matter could enter into binding arbitration, said Pamela Schulze, president of the Akron chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

When announcing the staffing cuts to the board, Gary L. Miller, Akron’s president, said the move was necessary because of the pandemic, state budget cuts, declining enrollment, and the need to protect the university's financial reserves.

Read entire article at Chronicle of Higher Education