Wright State to start laying off employees next week

Wright State University could begin laying off employees next week, the school’s interim president said on Tuesday.

The administration will begin giving notice to employees if the finance committee of the board of trustees recommends the full board approve proposed layoffs and budget cuts, said interim president Curtis McCray. The finance committee meets May 19.

“If we get that we’re going to start giving notice,” McCray said. “Just as a matter of letting people know because we know there’s a lot of anxiety about it.”

McCray declined to provide more specific information about who will be laid off at WSU.

On May 19, students, staff and faculty will likely receive one of McCray’s weekly messages that provides some broad details of anticipated layoffs, said spokesman Seth Bauguess. Such a message could contain the number or percentage of faculty versus staff that could be laid off, Bauguess said.

McCray alluded to the looming layoffs in an email to the campus community last Friday. In the email, McCray said that people and institutions often believe they are immune to certain pitfalls but that “eventually, in the end, the arrow will hit us all.”

“In the days ahead, the economic necessity of Wright State University will result in the removal of some of your colleagues from your midst,” McCray wrote. “They will be gone not through any action of their own (indeed, in many cases their performance may have been exemplary), but because the resources of the university have not been well managed.”

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The university is looking to lay off between 80 and 120 employees to save between $6 million and $8 million. WSU may also leave another 30 to 50 positions open to save an additional $3 million to $5 million, according to proposed cuts presented to the finance committee.

Trustees have said they would try to make the bulk of layoffs from areas other than faculty and McCray has said some positions in the administration may be merged or eliminated. Wright State employs around 3,700 faculty and staff, according to the school.

“In this departing, our humanity aches for us to show those who leave us the kindness, and the humanity, that our own eventual departing will demand,” McCray wrote in his most recent weekly email.

The university’s voluntary retirement incentive retirement program is expected to net around $6 million in savings from next year’s budget while attrition will save the university around $2 million, according to the report. Wright State’s Lake Campus and Boonshoft School of Medicine, which operate under separate budgets, are being asked to give a combined $4 million back to the university.

Cuts won’t be officially adopted until the board of trustees approves its 2018 budget in June, trustees said.

To regain its financial footing, Wright State has to trim $25 million from its upcoming budget while also boosting the school’s reserve fund by $5 million.

The financial crisis the school is facing is the result of years of overspending, school officials have said. The university is projected to have overspent by more than $120 million over the past six years.

Officials have said that some programs, both academic and athletic, could be eliminated to balance the budget.

McCray previously said the men’s golf team could be cut but on Tuesday he would not confirm whether other athletics programs are at risk. Some specialized academic programs, with lower enrollment could also be “candidates for elimination,” board of trustees chairman Michael Bridges has said.

Staying with the story

The Dayton Daily News is your only source for developments on Wright State University’s ongoing financial crisis. Follow our higher education reporter on Twitter at @MaxFilby for further updates on news at area colleges.

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