University of Akron Eliminates 97 Faculty Positions in ‘Bloodbath’

Empty college classroom
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The University of Akron has announced the elimination of 97 full-time faculty positions on Wednesday at a board meeting of the school’s trustees. One professor referred to the decision as a “bloodbath” for the school’s faculty members.

The university’s Board of Trustees unanimously authorized the elimination of 97 full-time professors in response to a projected enrollment decline and continuous budget problems, according to a report by Inside Higher Ed.

The report added that the 97 professors eliminated are a considerable portion of about 570 in total at the school, and that some 21 full-time faculty members have also recently decided to resign or retire.

Wednesday’s budget cuts have been a “bloodbath” for faculty, said Pam Schulze, professor of child and family development at Akron and campus faculty union president.

Schulze also referred to Wednesday’s board meeting as “depressing,” but noted that it is sadder for the university and its students than it is for faculty.

“From what I’ve seen, some of these programs will be so badly hurt, I don’t know if they can continue,” she said. “I don’t view this as a union issue, I view this as a university issue.”

The cuts — which were made by department chairs and deans at the university’s request that programs be trimmed by up to 25 percent — will take effect within two weeks. The report added that names were selected regardless of rank or tenure status.

“For years, the university has disinvested in academics while simultaneously losing millions on its athletics programs,” said Akron’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors. “In the spirit of shared sacrifice, we believe that it’s time to move to a responsible and sustainable model of funding for athletics.”

A few months ago, the university announced that it would be eliminating more than half of its colleges in a cost-saving initiative resulting from the Chinese virus pandemic.

Ohio University has also made some cuts of its own in response to the financial burdens resulting from the Wuhan virus.

In May, the university laid off professors from the gender and race studies departments, and has also fired 140 unionized employees who worked in the school’s custodial, groundskeeping, and maintenance departments.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.

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