The University of Montana announced Tuesday a voluntary severance offer for eligible, non-faculty employees in its continuing effort to reduce personnel costs.
According to the news release:
“The University of Montana must reduce the percentage of the budget spent on personnel,” said UM President Sheila Stearns. “This severance offer is another strategy aimed at that goal and may also reduce the number of involuntary reductions we’ll be forced to make to align our personnel expenses.”
The voluntary severance offer will be detailed in campus meetings at 11 a.m. and noon Wednesday, Oct. 18, in the University Center Theater. These sessions will be live-streamed on Montana Community Access Television.
Stearns said the offer is similar to the Voluntary Employee Retirement Incentive Program offered to qualifying tenured faculty members earlier this year. In addition, UM has slowed hiring significantly, with all recruitments for positions supported by the general fund requiring presidential approval.
The University also is in the midst of a program prioritization effort that Stearns said will further inform the overhaul of academic programming and administrative services offered at the institution.
“Ideally, we would’ve preferred to wait for the conclusion of our prioritization efforts to make some of these decisions,” she said. “However, this offer creates choices and options for our employees. Our budget challenges — largely as the result of spending close to 90 percent on personnel — are significant, and strategies to address them cannot be deferred.”
The president said there will be plenty of additional work to do once the recommendations are final in regards to prioritization.
This story will be updated.