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Missouri S&T Will Close $32 Million Deficit With Layoffs And Furloughs

Photo taken 06-04-20
Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri University of Science and Technology is cutting positions to close a budget deficit caused by the coronavirus.

ROLLA — The financial impact of the coronavirus and resulting cuts in state funding has led Missouri University of Science and Technology to cut more than 120 positions on campus, about 10% of its workforce.

Chief Financial Officer Cuba Plain said during a virtual town hall meeting Thursday that 44 staff and five faculty will be laid off and 58 staff and 13 faculty positions that are vacant will stay unfilled.

A total of 90 employees will receive temporary furloughs lasting two weeks to two months.

“This budget year is different than any I have ever dealt with in my career,” Plain said. “The amount of unknowns we are dealing with is just mindboggling.”

Plain said the university is looking to make substantial changes to the organization to help protect core functions and avoid facing these kinds of decisions in the future.

That’s why, Plain said, Missouri S&T is not considering temporary pay reductions like some other schools.

“Across-the-board pay reductions are one-time, stopgap measures, just another way of kicking the can down the road,” Plain said. “Our philosophy at S&T has always been that we try to look at our problems and look at our issues and deal with them as appropriately and as quickly as we can.”

Missouri S&T is in process of notifying the employees who are being laid off.

Despite the cuts, S&T Chancellor Mo Dehghani said there are promising signs for the future.

“Our freshman enrollment is up simply because we paid attention and put investment in enrollment management,” Dehghani said.

Dehghani did not comment about the possibility of cutting degree programs during Thursday’s forum. Two weeks ago he said such a move was possible. He looked to clarify his position and quell concerns among faculty members with an email to the campus community on Monday.

“We have not made any decisions regarding the elimination of any academic programs at Missouri S&T, and we will not do so without first thoroughly reviewing our options with a variety of stakeholders,” Dehghani said in his message.

He said he is setting up a small group to study the issue.

“This group will include faculty and staff representation, and my charge to them is to look at areas for investment as well as areas for possible integration,” Dehghani said.

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Jonathan Ahl is the Newscast Editor and Rolla correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.