A total of nine people have learned they will be laid off this year at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the institutions’ leaders said Wednesday.
Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor of UNO and UNMC, said in a Zoom discussion with the UNO community that 63 jobs there will be affected by budget cuts.
But about a quarter of those are vacancies that will go unfilled and well over half of them are employees who will simply be paid from a different source of money (such as federal grant money) than before.
Doug Ewald, vice chancellor for business, finance and business development at UNO and UNMC, said after the Zoom session that six will be cut at UNO and three at UNMC. All have been notified, he said.
The NU system, including schools in Lincoln and Kearney, is working on a $43 million cut over the next three years, about $6.3 million of which will be absorbed by UNO.
UNMC faces $6.6 million in cuts. The trims are largely related to the coronavirus pandemic’s negative impact on the NU system and higher education in general.
Masks will be expected to be worn at UNO and UNMC, Ewald said, a point that Gold pounded home at the beginning of his remarks to UNO.
“Wear a mask, wear a mask, wear a mask,” Gold said.
Gold spoke for about an hour about the UNO situation Wednesday afternoon after holding a similar discussion with the UNMC community in the morning.
The $43 million will be attained by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s trimming 5.5% of its budget; UNO and the University of Nebraska at Kearney 3.9%; and UNMC 2.9%.
Gold said UNO and UNMC planned for several scenarios, including 10% cuts. Ewald told the afternoon virtual town hall meeting that the universities are “in a far better place now than we were” when 10% slashes were considered.
The coronavirus has proven so unpredictable, though, that Gold said projections could be faulty. He said UNO’s fall planning includes preparations for nearly normal campus activity and, on the other end, classes provided completely online, as took place in the spring.
“There are two words that I have stricken from my vocabulary — always and never,” Gold said of dealing with the pandemic.
As of this week, enrollment projections indicate UNO expects strong undergraduate and graduate student enrollment. The numbers who have signed up are greater than at the same time last year. Signing a contract doesn’t guarantee that a student will show up, though. Last fall, UNO enrolled about 15,150 students.
Ewald said at UNMC, a total of about 4,000 students are expected this fall, which would make it a fairly typical enrollment. Last year, UNMC enrolled 4,055, a record for the institution.
Gold assured UNO that the administration is ready to take on the challenges of fall. He said: “I can predict that we’re going to be as prepared as we can possibly be.”
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