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UD lays off 1,100 part-timers as part of cost-cutting efforts

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NEWARK – The University of Delaware has laid off more than 1,100 part-time workers – about 23% of its total workforce – as part of its efforts to reduce spending to offset costs related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The layoffs are effective June 1.

UD sent a letter May 21 to all employees about the decision, saying the layoffs do not apply to adjunct faculty, graduate students, work-study students, or employees whose wages are paid through external funding.

UD told the Delaware Business Times earlier this year that it has a total of 4,732 full- and part-time employees. Adjunct professors do not count in that number because they are considered contract employees, although they have been told they will not have a teaching position in the fall.

The individuals who were laid off – more than 70% of them students – “supplement the core workforce filling both short-term and long-term gaps, specialized and general administrative work,” university spokesperson Andrea Boyle Tippett said. “We are hopeful we can rehire many of those laid off once this crisis ends.” 

Universities are scrambling to offset budget shortfalls caused by lost room, board, and fee income, using CARES Act stimulus money to offset part of the losses.

West Virginia University announced this week that it was furloughing 875 employees – 13% of its workforce – with some returning to work May 24 and others returning July 26. That will save the university about $4 million, university officials said.

Tippett did not have a figure for total savings in the UD job cuts. The university has said it still needs to deal with a $50 million revenue shortfall before any additional budget cuts it might get when the Delaware General Assembly considers the fiscal year 2021 budget over the next month.

Delaware State University has not laid anyone off and does not currently anticipate doing so, said spokesman Steve Newton, who conceded that the school doesn’t have that many part-timers.

“We’re doing this through a hiring freeze and attrition in an effort to protect some of our more vulnerable employees,” he added.

By Peter Osborne


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