Coronavirus: ‘Few choices’ but to make budget, workforce cuts, Wright State president says

Coronavirus: ‘Few choices’ but to make budget, workforce cuts, Wright State president says

FAIRBORN — Wright State University will make cuts to its budget and workforce in response to the coronavirus pandemic, President Susan Edwards said Thursday.

"A confluence of declining enrollment projections and shrinking state support have left the university few choices but to pursue continued expense and workforce reductions so that Wright State can continue to serve the Dayton region and the state of Ohio," she said in a note to the "Wright State Family" posted to Facebook.

The president did not share details about the cuts in finance and the workforce.

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At a finance committee meeting livestreamed in late April, WSU trustees heard a range of annual budget deficit projections from $11 million to nearly $50 million. The latter projection is tied to enrollment falling to 10,000 students or lower.

According to Wright State's most recent information, total enrollment 13,742 (12,080 at Fairborn and 1,248 at the Lake Campus on the shore of Grand Lake St. Marys).

Wright State is and will continue meeting with multiple campus constituencies to work through the situation, she said.

Those meetings have included conversations with the three labor unions represented on campus (Fraternal Order of Police, Teamsters, and AAUP-WSU) "in an effort to clearly communicate the gravity of our financial situation and pursue common ground that might lead to financial compromises," Edwards said.

Edwards said the university is proposing mid-term bargaining with AAUP-WSU and FOP, while continuing conversations with the Teamsters.

In late April, Wright State announced to its campus via email cuts in administrators's salaries as well as freezing contracts and capital improvements. State government informed university leaders to prepare for a "significant reduction in what is remaining of this year's share of instruction," WSU said at that time.

President Edwards, the university provost, vice presidents, vice provosts and deans voluntarily agreed to take a 20 percent cut in salary, the university said in the email, noting that workforce cuts may be considered in the future.