With the UA facing new requirements concerning its budget, the university has made the decision to remove about 320 positions from the budget.
These cuts are due to the new budget that Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law in March, which reduced the total amount of state funding for Arizona’s public universities by approximately $99 million.
Included in the 320-person cut will be 104 layoffs, terminations, retirements and resignations of workers that the UA currently employs.
“UA was able to keep layoffs to a minimum and achieved the job cuts largely through resignations, retirements, and by not filling vacant positions,” Gregg Goldman, chief financial officer for the UA, said in an interview with the Arizona Daily Star.
The remaining 224 positions will be reduced mainly through the removal of vacant positions and various other reductions within the university’s many departments.
According to the UA, these cuts will result in a $21.7 million savings in salary, wages and benefits that the university will have for the upcoming year. In addition to the job cuts, the UA also intends to cut travel spending by approximately $3.9 million and bring in $2.8 million in new revenue.
The main purpose behind these new cuts is the effort to address the $28.4 million reduction in the UA’s budget that is expected to take effect for the upcoming 2016 fiscal year.
“I believe the driving force behind these cuts had to do with the lack of funding granted to public universities as a whole,” Tanzida Zaman, the co-chair of the Student Services Fee Advisory Board, said.
One of the main concerns for students will be the potential impact of having fewer employees to handle the university’s responsibilities.
The UA cites several impacts that these cuts will have on various university departments.
“I know several departments that had to prioritize which items and positions they wanted to keep and which ones they wanted to cut,” Zaman said.
According to the UA, both the humanities and engineering programs will be forced to increase the section sizes of core undergraduate classes. Other departments such as the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Honors College will have to reduce the number of courses and seminars offered per semester.
“This could mean more responsibilities spread among fewer people and students potentially experiencing trouble accessing staff members who are growing busier by the day,” Zaman said.
The Neuroscience and Cognitive Science program will be forced to eliminate courses, the speaker series and its colloquium. In addition, the UA nursing program will not be able to expand its online course offerings as previously expected.
The UA anticipates that these new job cuts will lead to a reduction in hours of operation for the UA Main Library’s Express Document Center and the Fine Arts Library.
Additional renovation of facilities is expected to be delayed along with other projects involving energy sustainability and savings.
These job cuts impact programs outside of the classroom as well, such as University of Arizona Police Department and Parking and Transportation Services . UAPD will eliminate their Student Camera safety program while PTS’s initiatives to replace shuttle buses will be delayed along with anticipated parking lot maintenance work.
Several other programs such as UITS, Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid and the Graduate College will also be impacted by the job cuts.
While these cuts will serve to reduce the UA’s budget for the upcoming year, the impact on students and faculty across the university is yet to be seen.
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