The University of Oklahoma on Thursday executed its second round of layoffs this year.
The measure takes 69 employees off of the OU payroll, though some will have the chance to keep their positions by moving to other organizations. CART employees make up the largest percentage of the reduction, and the university reports the move totals $4.2 million in savings.
“These actions are only occurring because they are necessary and ensure the future health of the university,” Joseph Harroz, interim president at OU, said. “We are mindful of our students and the financial realities they face. Because so many of our students borrow substantial amounts of money to finance their education, we have a responsibility to remain affordable while providing the excellence they demand.”
The total number also reflects the transition of OU’s medical clinic in Lawton to Comanche County Hospital, according to the release. That includes 13 of the layoffs, and the transition will be complete by early August.
The remaining layoffs represent “additional operations and marketing reductions related to a restructuring.”
“These employees are co-workers, dear friends and, in many cases, long-time contributors to the success of OU,” Harroz said. “They have families and lives we know will be changed by this reduction action. We are committed to assisting them in the transition with severance and benefits.”
Employee’s who lose their jobs will be eligible for unemployment 60 days after notice. They also will receive payment for any unused unpaid time off.
OU has retained 14 drivers for the on-campus CART shuttle services it intends to keep. The rest can apply for positions within the new public transportation system setup.
The City of Norman is slated to take over the bus system on July 1 and has secured $3.1 million in total funding to continue the current level of service.
In February, 28 positions between the OU Norman and Health Sciences Center campuses were eliminated. That followed another 50 layoffs in November, most of which were from the landscaping department.
In total, 136 positions have been eliminated since July of last year, when the fiscal year began. That represents less than one percent of the 14,413 total, according to the university.
The previous layoffs occurred under now retired OU president James Gallogly, who sought to improve the university’s financial situation during his one-year tenure.