BY JANE STANCILL
N.C. Central University leaders announced Wednesday that they would eliminate 55 positions and lay off 17 employees in the process.
Affected employees will be notified the first week of May, and 38 unfilled positions will be left vacant. A university spokeswoman said she had no further information on what types of jobs will be cut.
“We understand that the impact to members of the community makes this an extremely sensitive time for all of us,” Chancellor Debra Saunders-White said in a statement Wednesday. “As a community we will exercise patience, understanding and compassion in the weeks and months to come.”
The job cuts come as the university reduces its annual budget by $5.6 million, or 2.8 percent. As part of an overall spending plan, the university is making some investments in academics and student services while dealing with budget reductions and new efficiency measures.
NCCU saw a budget cut of $3.7 million during the current two-year budget cycle. The university also experienced a 5.9 percent drop in students last year. A university spokeswoman said NCCU is expected to meet enrollment targets this fall.
Saunders-White said the university had been able to minimize job cuts in 2013-14 because it managed vacant positions the year before. A similar approach is being taken as the university plans for 2014-15, Saunders-White said, but with 75 percent of the budget devoted to personnel costs, it is impossible to avoid job reductions.
She said the university would help affected employees by offering job search support, career training, free workshops and other services. Some may have the opportunity to be moved to other positions within the university.
NCCU has sustained about $60 million in permanent and one-time cuts in the past decade. In 2011, the university undertook efforts to restructure its academic programs and improve efficiency.
Other public universities are doing the same. Across the UNC system, several campuses have experienced enrollment declines and are preparing for more reductions.
Earlier this month, UNC-Greensboro Chancellor Linda Brady said job cuts were coming as a result of a $12.8 million budget shortfall. Elizabeth City State University, anticipating a $4 million shortfall, announced that it would lay off 34 employees. That campus cut 46 employees’ jobs last fall due to a $5.4 million shortfall. (News Observer)