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University of New Orleans: Layoffs Likely Will Follow Elimination of Fields

NEW ORLEANS ― The University of New Orleans has announced that a working group will determine which of the university’s 84 degree programs will be eliminated in the coming months.

UNO President Peter Fos told The New Orleans Advocate that layoffs are likely to follow those recommendations, which will seek to identify and build on the university’s strengths.

The school laid off 28 employees earlier this year to help close a multimillion-dollar deficit. It has been looking at ways to bring costs in line with what an institution its reduced size can afford.

The working group of about 25 members—including the deans of UNO’s five academic colleges and library as well as faculty leaders—will decide on criteria for evaluating UNO’s 84 degree programs then recommend which to keep.

Faculty and students will know if their programs are being cut by the beginning of the spring 2015 semester, Fos said. Any changes will take effect during the spring 2016 semester.

The group is scheduled to make recommendations by Oct. 31 to Fos, who will then submit his final plans to the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors.

Since starting at UNO in January 2012, Fos has cut more than 110 positions—the school had about 1,850 full- and part-time staff as of last fall—and last year closed a popular on-campus child care center. He has said the cutbacks were necessary in light of the school’s reduced size and loss of state money.

Over the past five years, UNO’s state funding has dropped by almost half, from $56 million in 2008 to $32 million for the current fiscal year. Over the past decade, enrollment also has fallen by almost half, from 17,360 students registered in 2003 to just 9,323 last year.

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