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Univ. of Wyoming trims 54 jobs in budget cutting

Bob Moen, Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- The University of Wyoming has eliminated 54 faculty and staff positions to meet state budget cuts, but all the job cuts have been achieved through attrition.

The state's only four-year public university also is reducing non-personnel support budgets and scholarships to meet the $11.8 million reduction ordered by the state Legislature and Gov. Matt Mead for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The budget reduction includes a $5.7 million cut in UW support budgets, $3.1 million in personnel costs, $2.4 million in scholarships and graduate education expenses, and $600,000 from the School of Energy Resources.

In anticipation of the budget cut, UW began staff and faculty reductions through attrition last year, allowing it to avoid laying anyone off.

Forty-two of the eliminated jobs were among staff positions, while 12 were among faculty positions, UW spokesman Chad Baldwin said Monday.

"Academic Affairs is the biggest unit on campus, and there are 14 positions that have been eliminated there," Baldwin said.

Academic Affairs oversees and supports the university's individual colleges.

The administration department, the second-largest unit in terms of staff salaries, lost 16 jobs, he said.

Specific jobs eliminated in the two departments include office assistants, custodians and a programming analyst.

The president's office lost four positions, including a senior administrative assistant, Baldwin said.

Among the faculty, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the College of Arts and Sciences both lost four positions each, while the colleges of Education and Engineering lost three apiece.

UW President Tom Buchanan said the job cuts represent "a loss of the university's capacity to accomplish its mission."

"We have tried to minimize the impact of cuts on students and our core academic mission, but it's impossible to make a 6 percent reduction without impacting our teaching, research, service and outreach," Buchanan said in a statement. "The effects of the cuts also will take the form of reduced effectiveness in instructional support, reduced student services and reduced capacity to maintain the physical plant."

While not replacing some employees who resign or retire made it possible to avoid layoffs, the down side of attrition is that some campus units have taken larger hits than others, Buchanan said.

However, most remaining employees will benefit from $1.8 million the state made available to UW for salary bonuses. The UW board of trustees must approve details of the bonuses, Baldwin said.