By Kuhl, Nick on March 6, 2020.
In relation to the provincial budget tabled last week, the University of Lethbridge has laid off 19 employees.
With an additional 23 confirmed retirements and resignations for 2020/21, a total of 42 positions have been affected, the U of L confirmed in a notice letter to staff this week.
“These were not easy decisions,” said U of L President Mike Mahon, in the notice.
“Our staff and faculty are committed and driven individuals who have created one of the best student and academic cultures in the country. However, because salaries and benefits make up most of the university’s operational expenditures (83 per cent), layoffs were unavoidable.”
The U of L has put a pause on further layoffs for the next few months while they work with government to understand the new budget model and the performance-based metrics. Officials say they are not implementing a hiring freeze and that positions will be filled in high-need areas.
“Throughout the budgetary process, every effort has been made to identify actions to minimize employee layoffs,” Mahon said.
“During this period, we will continue to explore revenue-generating opportunities and continue our discussions and review of our workforce planning.”
At its Feb. 13 meeting, the U of L Board of Governors voted to increase overall tuition by seven per cent as well as increase various fees. They also asked units like Ancillary Services and Campus Mobility Services to contribute additional revenue to the university’s operating fund, and challenged their domestic and international recruiters to continue to increase student enrolment.
“I know these budget decisions, coupled with two recent departures of our senior leadership, are concerning to members of our community,” Mahon wrote.
“However, one of the legacies left in part by our former provost is the emergence of new leadership across our university. Our institution has developed talented individuals at many different levels, across many different departments. The fact that other institutions in Canada recruit our administrators, staff and faculty speaks to the U of L’s ability to develop its people,” he continued.
“Our faculty and staff are unparalleled. It is through your collective work the U of L is an internationally respected destination university. The fiscal challenges we currently face are significant. However, because of you and through you, I am confident the university will continue to provide the outstanding student experience for which it is known and make its mark in communities throughout the world.”