OSHKOSH, Wis. — On Thursday, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh announced staff cuts and furloughs due to budget constraints.
During the summer months, it’s normal for the UW-Oshkosh campus to be a little quieter than normal. However, after news broke of staff cuts and furloughs happening on Thursday, there was a buzz going around.
For students, it’s the first time hearing of this news and it comes as a shock to many.
“I’m a little bit concerned with the teachers and their jobs, because they are going to be here for a little while,” UW-Oshkosh student Mike Buckner said.
Buckner is a senior and said the news of the budget cuts that will affect staff at his school is difficult to hear.
“I think a lot of people have been having issues with that,” Buckner said. “It’s unfortunate. I wish there was a way that could not happen.”
Buckner said he is a student employee on campus and isn’t sure what this means for him, but is more worried about his professors moving forward.
The university said it’s predicting a $18 million deficit in the current fiscal year. UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said this budget crisis is forcing layoffs, furloughs and workforce adjustments to staff.
Political science professor David Siemers said he is upset about this decision and the lack of information coming from the university. He also said it was a bit of a shock to hear on Thursday.
“Well, it’s demoralizing, of course,” Siemers said. “The chancellor has been talking about bad news coming for a while. We didn’t know what it would be. We didn’t know that we would be hit with three of four bad things.”
Siemers said he plans to teach this upcoming school year and is even working on building his syllabus this week while this news is so fresh. He said he is frustrated with the state and what this means for higher education in Wisconsin.
“This is a choice by the state of Wisconsin and its government,” Siemers said. “Not to have a 21st century university here. While other states are investing in higher education, our state is dis-investing,”
His viewpoint is echoed by many on campus including, UW-Oshkosh Faculty Senate President Jen Szydlik who said in a statement, in part:
“These cuts will harm morale across the university; it will impact the array of courses we can offer; and it will make it difficult to begin new projects, hire faculty and staff in growing areas, and it will result in the loss of many valued colleagues. “
The feelings are fresh on campus after hearing this news and many staff shared they aren’t clear when or where these cuts will be happening. This leaves many with a lot of uncertainty and fear for the future.