Buyouts, Possible Layoffs As Tulane Deals With Deficit

Tulane University president Mike Fitts

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tulane University's president says employees will soon receive information on buyout offers. And he says that the university may have to lay people off if too few employees choose to leave.

         President Mike Fitts says in a message distributed to the private university's employees on Tuesday that details will be released Oct. 21 on the "voluntary separation program" for those wishing to retire or seek other jobs.

         The move comes as the university works to trim an annual budget deficit of $15 million to $20 million.

         "It is not our intention to force valuable Tulane employees to apply for the Voluntary Separation Program," said Fitts, who is in his second year as Tulane's president. "However, if we do not achieve the necessary dollars savings through the voluntary phase, we will likely have to consider additional measures such as non-voluntary lay-offs."

         Other cost-cutting measures mentioned in Fitts' message include renegotiation of a university energy contract and changes in travel and health care management.

         Also, changes in overtime, sick leave and vacation policies will take effect next July.

         Fitts said the cost-cutting plans were developed by a committee he appointed, working with Huron Consulting Group.

         Fitts' message also says the university is preparing for the largest fundraising campaign in its history, and notes that the university recently rose to a No. 41 ranking in annual US News & World Report rankings.

         "Because of our academic and research strengths, ideal size and enviable location, we are poised to cement our place among the country's most distinguished universities," Fitts said.





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