Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Southeast to trim positions for budget

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

After making numerous budget reductions over the past year, University president Carlos Vargas announced another round of cuts to current positions at Southeast. These cuts, announced Jan. 9, will finish balancing the 2018 fiscal year budget and cover the 2019 fiscal year.

The reductions will impact by cutting 20 to 25 current filled staff positions and 15 to 20 vacant staff positions. This represents 4 percent of the university’s full-time workforce. Employees affected by this action will be notified in two periods. The first period will be from Jan. 20 to Feb. 2. A second round of notifications will take place in late April or early May, Vargas said.

In an attempt to maintain quality and depth of education, no filled faculty positions are being eliminated, Vargas said.

Photo by Kara Hartnett

“We have been working on this for many months with the departments, individual units, supervisors and have done an analysis over every division,” Vargas said.

All affected employees will be given a five-month notice before termination of their last day of employment. Vargas said the Department of Southeast Human Resources will work with affected employees, coordinating assistance with exit services, such as resume writing and practice interviews. The university even will give these employees a hand in exploring alternative employment options, if necessary.

An employee whose position is being eliminated and meets the required qualification of another position at the university, Vargas said, will be guaranteed an interview for a period of six months following his or her last day.

“Nothing is as tough as what individuals who are losing positions are going through, and that is something that weighs very heavily on me and everyone else in my executive stand,” Vargas said.

Vargas said all of the cost-cutting measures were designed to meet the need to fit within the $6.6 million budget, which includes a 9 percent reduction in state appropriations.

More to that cost cutting goal, Vargas said, the university restructured several departments and offered a Voluntary Retirement Incentive. This incentive led to 74 faculty and staff retirements that began Dec. 31 and will continue through Dec. 31, 2018. A four-month hiring delay will remain in effect at Southeast to provide one-time funds as base-budget reductions are implemented in the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years .

Even with budget challenges, Vargas said, Southeast is adapting to these changes and providing access to an affordable, quality education.