Bowles wants to furlough UNC faculty, not lay them off

Posted May 3, 2010

— University of North Carolina President Erskine Bowles is lobbying Gov. Beverly Perdue for the authority to furlough faculty and staff across the system's 17 campuses in order to avoid mass layoffs.

Bowles is preparing for a 5 percent budget cut for the 2010-11 school year, a reduction that he has said would mean the loss of 1,000 jobs system-wide, with more than half of them faculty positions.

Perdue's proposed budget calls for the UNC system to receive a 1.6 percent increase for the coming year to fund enrollment growth and provide more money for student financial aid. Neither the House nor the Senate have rolled out a legislative budget proposal yet.

Last year, UNC eliminated 866 administrative jobs and about 40 faculty positions because of $294 million in state budget cuts.

Bowles said in e-mails to university officials last week that continued layoffs "will absolutely place our university on a glide path to mediocrity." Academic cuts would mean campuses will have to reduce course offerings, increase class sizes, cut lab and library hours and offer fewer academic advisers and counselors, officials have said.

Being able to furlough faculty and staff would provide chancellors with some flexibility to handle budget cuts without sacrificing personnel, Bowles said.

"I know neither option of firing or furlough is one we would either choose if not for the effects of this recession, but I need all the flexibility I can get to protect the quality of education we offer our students," he said in an e-mail to Andy Willis, a former lobbyist for the UNC system who now works in Perdue's office. "I'm prepared to take any criticism that would come to save these critical jobs."

The UNC system employs about 47,400 people, including about 15,400 faculty.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • knm2005 May 6, 2010

    I am all for laying off dead weight but as one of the people who runs an office, we are the working bees that keep an office running! We do more then just copy and scan. I think all jobs should be reviewed. I have noticed the custodial workers at my job that spend maybe two hours working out of an eight hour day. I have watched them hang outside or in a room doing nothing! At my job they are only required to keep bathrooms clean and trash dumped. Our floors have went for many days without being vacuumed and when I come in they are just sitting around. What happened to working an eight hour day?

  • gingerlynn May 5, 2010

    My husband has been faculty for 30 years. He teaches 4 courses, usually 160 students per semester. Plus he works with one or two graduate students. He has never had a teaching or graduate assistant to help him grade. This is how it is at the non "elite" unc schools. Maybe if the folks at UNC and State had to teach a courseload without aids like those of us at tier two schools (for 40k less money) there would not be a problem

  • HanginTough May 4, 2010

    The thing about laying off the dead weight is that you are dealing with "faculty" who aren't smart enough to know how use a copier, make a label, scan a doucment, attach a file....and the list goes on and let's start with LAYOFFS at the TOP and not cut the WORKER BEES because the WORKER BEES dont make C**P but are the only ones who know how to get to work on time and how to do the actual WORK! Let's start with ERSKINE as we all know he is thick as thieves with Bev, and Mike all the rest of those slimey politicians!

  • lizard May 3, 2010

    Don't elect dems in the fall and we can change this entitlement mindset for a four year degree. It's gonna help bankrupt this country. Only 50% of those that go to college graduate so we know they're "over full."

  • 27228 May 3, 2010

    The cuts have already had a deep impact in my department at NC State. Any further cuts are going to mean layoffs. I know this will make some of you stand up and cheer. But the layoffs won't affect the big time administrators with the nice offices and six-figure salaries. If anyone is laid off, it's going to be poorly paid instructors and lecturers--the same people who actually do teach full time. They don't have the protection of tenure and are therefore seen as expendable. They're a great value for students and taxpayers: low salaries, often share offices and computers with other instructors, teach 3 or 4 courses per semester, etc. If the cuts come, these folks will be history--and students and parents and taxpayers will be the losers. A furlough is a better option, if only slightly.

  • SaveEnergyMan May 3, 2010

    I want to know how this fulough will be done. Professors are under contract to teach 5 or 6 courses per year. They often buy their way out of several using research money, so they can do research. They don't typically earn vacation and aren't required to work a minimum number of hours - though many do work 40 hours per week or more.

    Will the professors teach fewer lectures each semester in exchange for the furlough cut? That hurts the quality of education and also leads to mediocrity. Or, is this a forced pay cut - the same work for less $$? Erksine - be honest.

    BTW: Many professors earn 6 figure incomes because they are the experts in their field, like medicine, engineering and science. Many could make more in the real world, but choose the somewhat easier life of teaching and research rather than the corporate rat race.

  • FromClayton May 3, 2010

    the dead weight is gone from my dept. fat has been trimed. higher up the assistant to the assistant's assistant is a little crazy....but we all know that is not who they will cut.

    furlough me if you must, that way i can keep family health insurance...that is what i work 4 anyway. u know most unc system employees doesn't make is the few at the top w/ the big money. dont judge us all by those few...u know they will not be the ones let go anyway.

  • prn13norm May 3, 2010

    Sorry left the e out of hope.

  • nickncsu May 3, 2010

    if by "hop" you mean "hope"... then yes, still am!

  • dws May 3, 2010

    "NO MORE FURLOUGHS!!!!!!!! Lay off the dead weight"

    but that makes too much sense....academia is "special".....

    I believe there was an audit last year that identified at least 10 layers of many layers AND how many people in these layers have been eliminated?