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At what cost? Why UW-Oshkosh laid off 140 employees, creating millions in savings

An additional 76 employees accepted voluntary retirement, effective January 2024
Posted at 3:15 AM, Oct 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-17 04:15:42-04
  • UW-Oshkosh has laid off 140 employees effective mid-January, 76 employees accept voluntary retirement
  • The layoffs are part of a Institutional Realignment Plan to recover from a $18 million deficit
  • In a press release, the university claimed that $14.7 million of savings are being created as a result of layoffs, retirements and open positions.

On Monday, UW-Oshkosh let 140 employees know by the start of the next calendar year they would not be returning to campus. Another 76 employees accepted voluntary retirement.
The university claims this is all part of addressing an $18 million deficit.

Of the 140 employees that will be let go, the institution states all of them are either in administrative roles or general staffing. No faculty members were laid off.

Of the 76 employees accepting voluntary retirement, 49 are staff members, 21 are faculty members and six are part of instructional academic staff. This, bringing the total number of employees leaving to 216.

The university claims $8 million in salary savings from layoffs, $4.76 million from voluntary retirements and $1.9 million from open positions — Creating around $14.7 million in savings.

One employee who wished to remain anonymous said the situation is a bad look.

"It's disappointing that this is the response since university has been tapping into its reserves for years now," they said. "And it's the employees that are going to have to be the ones suffering from it. Even new employees who have only been here a few years. It's disappointing that there was mismanagement for so long and then are still gonna have to be such a bigger follow because of it."

The university created an Institutional Realignment Plan (IRP) to address the $18 million deficit this school year.

Furloughs and contract non-renewals are also part of that plan. Those will be managed separately by college deans and academic department chairs.

In a statement, UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said the actions are structured "To support UWO's core academic mission, to have minimal impact on students and student success and to sustain an institution this region, the state and its people will rely on for decades to come."

The university stated it will continue to work through ways to generate further savings and revenues.

The last day of employment for those who have been let go will be Jan. 20. For those accepting voluntary retirement, their last day will be no later than Jan. 9, according to the press release.