MU adjusts projections in dealing with budget deficit

MANSFIELD – As Mansfield University officials continue to work on creating more efficient operations, the number of possible faculty and staff cutbacks is shrinking.

“As we said from the beginning, this is a fluid situation,” said Fran Hendricks, president. “Everyone is working on this with input from faculty, staff and students. As we’ve identified more efficient ways to work and new ways to deliver quality education, we have found ways to retain faculty and staff.”

The first announcement, in September, included a total of 29 faculty and 15 staff for retrenchment or furlough. That number has dropped to 22 faculty retrenchments and 10 staff furloughs for a total of 32 current position reductions. In addition, 12 currently vacant staff positions and 15 faculty positions will not be filled.

“This has been the result of intense and productive academic and non-academic team efforts,” Hendricks emphasized. “And we will continue to work on it.”

MU faces a projected 14.3 million dollar shortfall over the next two years. This is a result, Hendricks said, of enrollment declines, a slow economic recovery, a rise in costs beyond the university’s control and a reduction of state funding.

“These are difficult decisions affecting people’s lives,” Hendricks said. “Those colleagues affected are all valuable to the university, but we also have an obligation to live within our means and operate in a responsible manner. We continue to look to our faculty and staff to reinvent the delivery of academic programs and ensure the continued quality of service and support for students.”

Hendricks and the MU Cabinet have worked with the campus community to address the situation and possible solutions in a series of meetings, open forums and online discussions.