UNC students, faculty and staff react to layoffs

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UNC students, faculty and staff have been voicing concerns over the recent announcement about the upcoming layoffs. Photo courtesy of Alexander Nunley.

Due to budget challenges and inevitable restrictions, it has been announced by President Andy Feinstein that the University of Northern Colorado’s Board of Directors plans to release up to 65 faculty or administrative employees from their positions come late March into early April.  

The UNC community experienced a number or budget-related challenges compared to other Colorado schools such as the University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State University in Fort Collins who do not appear to be experiencing the same money struggles as Northern Colorado is. 

Students and faculty members across campus have mixed feelings about the layoffs. A student-created and student owned page on Facebook called “UNCo Memes for Cow Tippin’ Queens” is an outlet for students and alumni to share their thoughts and feelings with other UNC students.

“We all know that the university has been having financial trouble in the past few years,” said Bethany Buller, a member of the Facebook page and a freshman Biology major. “Sixty-five people’s salaries is probably going to end up equaling the current 2.7 million dollar defecit the university has. If there is someone to blame, blame the cause of the deficit.”

The students/alumni involved with the Facebook page recognize these budget cuts as a prominent issue, as administration and faculty members are huge assets to the school’s success.

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“I can’t say that I know much about the actual monetary situation we’re in, but to me the ‘plan’ to solve the issue is not thought out, and has very little regard for the students and faculty of this university,” said Bryce Baturevich, a member of the Facebook page and a junior percussion major in the School of Music. “As a music student, I experience first hand the impact that these office faculty members have on the success of our school, and I know it would be impossible without them.”

The students have many opinions looming around the web and around campus, but faculty members who work closely with those who are expected to or may be expecting to be laid off have vast opinions on the issue too.  

When asked his thoughts on the expected layoffs, one of UNC’s department chairs who prefers to remain anonymous states, “When I first heard about it, I was quite shocked. Immediately I thought, ‘This is a terrible idea.’ It turns out the plans at that point were at a relatively early stage, and hadn’t been formulated all that well. From a chair perspective, this is still not ideal. Everyday tasks will start to fall through the cracks, and until that happens we don’t even know the real impact of these changes. I personally don’t want to lose my admin, and I know that as a chair my workload is likely to increase and I already feel busy as it is. I have all sorts of worries and concerns.” 

Professors and other faculty members voice their concerns in such a difficult time for those who are at risk of being laid off. With the loss of faculty members, other issues are likely to arise.

A professor at UNC, who prefers to remain anonymous and who previously worked as the chair of her department said, “Various administrators’ communication hasn’t been all that great; though I appreciate the president and the provost’s willingness to speak to these issues at the faculty senate. I still have no real idea what will replace our current administrative staff, nor how these proposed centralized service centers will work. Admins do a lot of work on the ground and in the trenches for faculty and students – and I don’t see how all that service can be replicated by what little I’ve heard about the new centralized service centers. Personally, I am not convinced that whoever came up with this idea actually understands what our admins do. A couple of weeks ago, the president linked this plan to faculty raises. Under no circumstances am I interested in receiving a raise at the cost of other people’s jobs.”

Andy Feinstein, president of UNC has insisted the faculty/administrator layoffs are crucial to the school’s future success, and after the layoffs are complete there are no plans for further removal. 

The expected cuts have mixed reactions across the board, amongst faculty and students university wide. Many individuals across campus want their voices heard, and these budget cuts have become an evident cause for concern.

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