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UW System administration announces layoffs, other cuts

By SCOTT BAUER
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The University of Wisconsin System administration will lay off an untold number of employees over the next two years as part of $10 million in cuts that interim President Tommy Thompson announced Tuesday.

The layoffs affect employees of UW System Administration only. The system’s 13 universities are making their own reductions, which were necessary owing to a loss in revenue and state-ordered reductions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The layoffs of system employees will total about $6 million over two years, making for a 10% reduction in state-supported salaries. There are about 370 employees at UW System, so a 10% cut could mean the loss of almost 40 jobs. Thompson did not have a number of how many people would lose their jobs.

“These are new layoffs,” Thompson said at a virtual news conference. “It’s actual positions.”

Gov. Tony Evers has ordered a $250 million budget reduction for all state agencies, including UW, but the actual amount the university will take is still being negotiated, Thompson said. That will come on top of a nearly $49 million budget cut to the university in a previous round of reductions ordered by Evers.

Thompson said more reductions will be coming, in addition to those he announced Tuesday. Evers’ administration projected earlier that the state budget would have to undergo a $2 billion reduction amid the coronavirus pandemic. He’s ordered about $320 million in reductions so far.

“I can’t tell you exactly where the rest of the cuts are going to come from, but I can tell you we will do what is necessary to comply,” Thompson said. “We’re arguing right now over the size of the further cut put out by the administration.”

Previously announced furloughs at UW System will save $1.3 million. Thompson also announced that out-of-state-travel, and the purchasing of supplies and equipment, will be restricted at least until June 30, 2021, projecting that would save $2.4 million. Additional savings were expected through eliminating several memberships, sponsorships, and subscriptions and using virtual meetings.

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