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UNC Announces Vacant Position Eliminations, Layoffs

March 4, 2019

The University of Northern Colorado will eliminate approximately 80 vacant positions and limit layoffs to 11 non-faculty positions to further address its $10 million structural deficit. The university adopted stringent hiring restrictions last spring that paved the way for reorganizing and eliminating positions with as few layoffs as possible.

UNC President Andy Feinstein made the announcement in a campus memo Monday. He previously announced three university-wide measures to help address the budget: increases to the employee contribution to health insurance, reductions in employee and dependent tuition waiver benefits and a voluntary retirement incentive for some faculty.

Feinstein said the difficult decision to impose staff layoffs came only after considering numerous university-level cost-saving options, how to leverage vacant staff and faculty positions, and department-level strategies such as proposals for voluntary reductions in staff working hours. 

“We said from the beginning of this process that we would continue to make students our priority and would work to limit the human impact of these decisions,” Feinstein said. “No one wants to do layoffs. We did our best to limit the number by strategically leveraging natural attrition. Instituting a 60-day hold on vacant positions last spring and deliberately keeping many of them open beyond 60 days helped us accomplish that.” 

Laid-off employees (none of whom are faculty) will be notified this week, and UNC will support them through their transition by providing severance pay and benefits through May, job placement assistance and continued tuition-waiver benefits for any dependents enrolled at UNC. 

“We are now having individual conversations with these employees, and my heart goes out to them,” Feinstein said. “They are loyal, hard-working members of our UNC community who deserve our thanks.” 

The savings from eliminating positions is part of $8.5 million in cost-savings being identified at the division level. Personnel accounts for 70 percent of UNC’s expenses. 

Feinstein added that “every division appears to be on track to meet its cost-saving goal” and that a summary report will be developed, shared, and then discussed at a town hall meeting in April. He also thanked campus for their work to identify savings. 

“I recognize that this is unpleasant work, sometimes even painful,” he said. “These efforts will provide a critical foundation for us to build on next fall when we come together as campus to affirm our values and articulate a vision for UNC.”