Bigger budget deficits lead to job cuts, Campo tells Town Hall meeting

About 20 employees will be notified in the coming week, president says



Dr. Campo addresses staff and faculty at the town hall meeting on Jan. 10.

Retention and enrollment issues have resulted in a higher than anticipated budget deficit for 2022-23, leading to upcoming job cuts,  Ashland University  President Dr. Carlos Campo told  Town Hall attendees Tuesday Jan. 10.

Campo discussed the current state of the deficit and how the academic and non-academic working groups have trimmed budgets to achieve savings.

Much of the savings will be achieved by not filling current vacancies across the university,  Campo said, but that additional employee reductions would be necessary. Affected employees will be notified next week, he told the meeting of faculty and staff members, who overflowed Ronk Lecture Hall.

“We were trying to estimate how many people would be impacted almost immediately by these changes and it’s likely less than 20,” Campo explained. “Many positions from faculty to athletics to recruitment will have positions that didn’t get filled and at this point, we are not going to fill those positions to work through these issues.”

As for the issues at hand, Campo discussed the macro challenges to enrollment and some of the efforts currently underway to address them. 

“As an institution that is committed to this idea of unfettered intellectual inquiry that would find that there is more than one way to think about issues, the more we can highlight that as being part of who we are, I think our attractiveness will grow,” he said.

Dan McDonald, chair of art and design, disagreed with the notions laid out by Campo.

“I’m hard pressed to find anything new in what you’ve shared so far today and in previous speeches we’ve had for three or four years now,” McDonald said. “What is keeping us from actually reaching these ends that are suggested in what you are presenting?”

Dr. Diane Bonfiglio, chair of psychology and social work and family studies, criticized Campo’s presentation for not including more details on the plans.

“With all due respect, I think you’re downplaying that less than 20 of us will lose our jobs next week,” Bonfiglio said. “At the very least, we need to hear a plan and if that plan is restructuring, we need details.”

Campo responded by commenting on the difficulty of making the decision to let certain individuals go  while identifying areas of restructuring through efficiency.

Campo said the first step was looking for duplications of efforts and to eliminate those. 

“We’re going to merge jobs from different divisions and we’re going to find a way for us to continue to get the work done,” he said.

Archer Library Director Scott Savage suggested that AU leadership was the driving force behind the university’s continuing budget issues that have continued for years.

“If the team doesn’t win, you change the coach,” Savage stated. “Other universities are winning, and we’re not. And we still have the same coaches.”

Board of Trustees Chair Jim Hess, who was present, said the board supports the current administration.