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Cuts Continue At University Of Akron With 178 Jobs Eliminated

The University of Akron is cutting 178 union and non-union faculty and staff, regardless of tenure, to save $16.4 million. [Annie Wu / ideastream]

The University of Akron Board of Trustees on Wednesday unanimously approved a measure to reduce 178 union and non-union faculty and staff positions. Another 64 university employees are voluntarily retiring.

Those who are affected will be notified by 5 p.m. on Friday.

University President Gary Miller told trustees the cuts are needed to sustain the university in the future.

Facing an estimated $65 million shortfall, the University of Akron expects to save $16.4 million through the mass layoff, which will begin in two weeks. The cuts include 96 union faculty members and 82 non-union faculty staff and contract workers, regardless of tenure.

The pandemic has decreased enrollment and reduced revenue for the 150-year-old public university, Miller said.

“The recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Ohio has created further uncertainty as to the challenges the university will face in the upcoming academic year,” he said.

Trustees also approved contract extensions with the faculty union and two others that call for wage cuts ranging from just under 1 percent to 4 percent. The faculty union pushed back against layoff for months, arguing that a research university requires a strong teaching staff and calling instead for a reduction in athletics funding.

In May, the board of trustees approved a series of drastic cost-cutting measures, including eliminating six of its 11 colleges and a major campus restructuring plan.

WKSU's Jennifer Conn and ideastream's Annie Wu contributed to this report.