UAF starts laying off people amid budget woes

 

The Associated Press

A reduction in state funding combined with rising fixed costs will force layoffs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The university said about 40 positions will have to be eliminated to help make up for a $12 million budget deficit. Officials hope not filling open positions will take the brunt of the layoffs, but some pink slips are going out, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Wednesday (http://is.gd/YyYPWK).

The university had little choice since it's a "service-intensive, people-intensive operation," said Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Pat Pitney.

The university is instituting across-the-board cuts of 3 percent to 6 percent to all academic units, and that will translate to lost jobs.

The university employs about 2,000 people, mostly in Fairbanks. There are about 100 positions that naturally open up every year, and UAF hopes attrition will help the layoff situation.

However, Pitney said some reductions will need to be more targeted.

"There's no way we can meet this reduction without 40 or 50 fewer people," Pitney said.

More layoffs may be needed as the budget cuts are finalized.

Among positions considered safe are those in growing programs that can't afford any job losses. Approximately 35 percent of the campus positions are funded by outside grants, which offer a buffer to budget problems.

The statewide University of Alaska system also is facing a 4 percent budget cut, which is about $1.4 million. Other campuses in Anchorage and Juneau also are facing reductions.

UA spokeswoman Kate Wattum said a review will be conducted of university operations to find places to streamline.

Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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