Monday, January 17, 2011

Chancellor, Board Chair say faculty layoffs "likely"

Today's RJ has a very good story by Lake on the expectation of a cut greater than 25% for Higher Ed in the Sandoval budget. That is not really news.

Towards the end of the story, there is a statement attributed to both the Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Regents, that "another round of program eliminations seemed likely" in addition to campus closures and layoffs. This is the first time we've heard of actual plans to end more faculty careers and it would seem appropriate that there be discussion and planning now, in consultation with faculty leadership, for this process.

Last year, it was understandable that the process had to be created by the Regents ad hoc, at least on some campuses, since the budget cut of January was a mid-budget clawback the depth of which had not been anticipated.

But with issues arising from that program review still unresolved, and with faculty having already come to the table in agreeing to amend the Code to allow across-the-board pay cuts if the legislature enacts them, and with this next round of cuts in plain sight right of front of us, it really seems right and fair for discussion to begin now -- among faculty, administrations and Regents -- on what would be the conditions to necessitate layoffs, what other cuts could be taken to avert or mitigate the impact on faculty and students (and we have a list!), and what steps would have to be taken in the event of further program cuts and layoffs to ensure they are transparent, fair and legal.

Its one thing to say that we just don't know. Its quite another to say that the crisis is likely. If its the latter, the time to plan together is now.

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