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March 20. 2012 9:37PM

21 laid off at UNH to close gap

DURHAM — Though 110 faculty and staff accepted buyouts from the University of New Hampshire by the Feb. 1 deadline, that was not enough to prevent layoffs.

A total of 21 staff members have been laid off since January to help bridge a gap caused by a $32.5 million funding cut made by the state legislature last year, according to university spokesperson Erika Mantz.

She said 82 staff members and 28 faculty took the buyout by the Feb. 1 deadline, freeing up $11.3 million in salary and fringe benefits. She said the additional 21 staff positions eliminated through layoffs resulted in a savings of $1.6 million.

Mantz said these savings close the budget gap for fiscal year 2013.

“By absorbing a majority of the cut in the state appropriation through a voluntary separation program and some layoffs, we have been able to insulate our high quality academic experiences for our students and limit the increases to tuition,” Mantz said.

The buyouts offered a one-time payment of 2.5 percent of an employee's base salary multiplied by their years of service, plus an additional payment.

Mantz said the buyout is costing the University $9.2 million.

Last year, New Hampshire lawmakers cut nearly half of the university's state funding.

The action led to immediate layoffs, salary and hiring freezes and a scale-back in benefits for employees.

During his State of the University address in September, university President Mark Huddleston said at times it felt like the Legislature was determined to transform UNH from a state-supported university to one that is simply state-located.

Mantz said the university is focusing on many ways to achieve and sustain financial stability.

“We have programs aimed at increasing revenue, such as fund-raising and online learning, and we have programs that are aimed at continuous improvements in efficiency and effectiveness in all departments,” Mantz said.

Position cuts include eight staff within the UNH Cooperative Extension, four from the Colleges of Life Science and Agriculture, two from UNH police, and one each from the College of Liberal Arts, Inclusive Excellence, dining, transportation, the veterinary diagnostic lab, the Advancement/Alumni Association and the Whittemore School of Business & Economics.


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