Any other options?

On Thursday, a press release was sent out that detailed a plan to help alleviate Youngstown State University’s $6.6 million budget deficit. Part of the plan depends on the university laying off five full-time and four part-time non-faculty employees.

Earlier this year, when YSU’s 14-day enrollment numbers were released and it was found that the university’s enrollment had fallen 3.1 percent from last fall semester, Dunn said that he wanted “to protect as much as I can — our academic support services, student services and our people.”

Well, apparently, all else has failed, because some of those people that Dunn swore to protect are now losing their jobs, while others are going to be asked to take a voluntary furlough in another attempt to save the university money. These furloughs are expected to save the university $230,000, while the nine layoffs are expected to save around $663,000.

We have to believe that this is in the university’s best interest to save money and ensure the future of the university, but is this really the only option left? Is this truly a last-resort action that is being taken?

We hope so. Taking someone’s job away from them is not something that should ever be taken lightly. Hopefully, Dunn and his advisers in this situation have explored every possible avenue. Also included in Dunn’s plan is a freeze on all discretionary spending for things like travel and equipment across the university, a reduction in operating budgets across the university and a reduction in technology expenses.

All of these things — the layoffs, the discretionary budget freeze, the operating budget reductions — affect all of us, whether we are students or professors or faculty or staff. We must all hope that these cuts and measures are in all of our best interest as a whole going forward. We must believe that President Dunn has considered all other options.

And we must hope that in the long run, this is all worth it.

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