By Zenitha Prince
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Afro American Newspaper
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Tuskegee University is joining a growing number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities that are cutting staff cuts due to budget problems.
The university, which is based in Tuskegee, Ala., recently announced its commitment to reducing its annual operating costs by $15 million to $20 million over the next three years. And, payroll expenses will play an integral role in the administration’s effort to trim the fat on its budget.
As it stands, teaching and staff positions are not in balance with expected enrollment, school officials said. The university, therefore plans to slash 60 non-tenure positions that have been budgeted for but are currently vacant. Additionally, 60 current adjunct and staff positions will be permanently eliminated, bringing the expected budget savings to $8.5 million.
“Voluntary efforts to balance the workforce since fiscal year 2015 have moved us significantly closer to our target personnel levels,” Brian L. Johnson, Tuskegee president, said in a statement. “We have reduced, over time, the number of affected employees through several rounds of hiring freezes, contract renegotiations, organizational restructuring, senior administrator salary reductions, and non-personnel budget cuts.
Johnson added, “Making changes that affect personnel is the single most difficult decision that any organization can make, especially where employees have faithfully and honorably served the University for many years. [However,] these difficult decisions are necessary for Tuskegee University’s future.”
The AFRO recently reported that another southern HBCU, Albany State University in Georgia, had to undertake similar staff cuts due to failing finances.