Editorial: Staff cuts could be problematic for university

It was bound to happen, and it’s happening sooner rather than later.

The economy has impacted the university enough for the Office of Academic Affairs to call for department heads to consider a 2 percent staffing cut for the 2010 budget.

Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said one way to not spend 2.5 percent of the state appropriation over a year is to slow down the hiring process.

Waiting to fill positions that are open because of natural turnover, not renewing contracts or simply not filling positions that are not needed as much as others is not a bad idea, but evaluating what is or isn’t needed should be handled with care.

Unfortunately, the university is already spending more money by opening up the search for a dean for the College of Arts and Humanities — a position that is important and should be filled as soon as possible.

Lord said the 2 percent cut would “result in a slightly smaller compliment of instructors next year across each division.”

However, is cutting instructors really necessary?

Let’s take the College of Arts and Humanities for example. Currently, there is a dean, an associate dean, an assistant dean and an assistant to the dean.

Now, let’s look at the College of Business and Applied Sciences. It has a dean, an associate dean, two assistants to the deans and an assistant to the dean for academic computing.

These are just two examples, but it seems like rather than cutting the university’s educators, cuts could be made to these assistant positions and other desk jobs.

Students come to universities to learn, and Eastern prides itself on small classrooms.

With fewer professors, one of two things would happen: larger classrooms or fewer sections would be available.

But if a department has more than enough sections, by all means make a cut.

Lord said crafts positions, maintenance positions and groundskeeper positions are being postponed as well.

We just hope the university stays smart about these cuts and that it keeps enough people around so everything that needs to be done gets done.

We wouldn’t want a burst pipe in the Doudna Fine Arts Center and not enough maintenance personnel available to fix it.

The editorial is the majority opinion of The DEN editorial board. Reach the opinions editor at [email protected].