Thursday, July 16, 2020
Chronicle of Higher Education, 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. ...
Akron is the latest university to lay off faculty members after Covid-19 disrupted the spring semester and decimated university budgets across the country.
Inside Higher Ed, Budget ‘Bloodbath’ at University of Akron:
Cuts were made by department chairs and deans — many of them interim and acting, due to the recent reorganization — at the university's request that they trim their programs by up to 25 percent. The union says names were selected regardless of rank or tenure status. ...
Regarding COVID-19 in particular, many institutions are considering faculty cuts. But Akron is a particular flash point because it is cutting so deep, and because of intense and very public faculty opposition to its plan. That opposition includes the faculty union’s contention that the administration is privileging athletics over academics, to the detriment of students.