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Budget challenges lead to hiring freeze

President V. Lane RawlinsJuly 30, 2012

Dear UNT faculty and staff members,

As we approach the beginning of a new academic year, I want to thank each of you for your efforts to grow our great university. I am excited by our new initiatives to provide even better support and service to students as they work to earn their degrees. And I'm grateful for your efforts to enhance the experience of every student here and the value of every UNT degree.

I’m excited that we expect to enroll another record-breaking class of freshmen this fall, which is a tribute to our increasing standards for admission and our growing reputation as a university of the highest quality. Our plans for a new student union and a national fundraising campaign are huge steps toward fulfilling our four bold goals.

And I am glad that for the first time since 2009-10 we will be awarding merit raises, effective Sept. 1. I hope to be able to continue to do so in the years to come.

However, our state continues to face a tough fiscal situation and our budgets are uncertain at UNT. So, after extensive consultation with others in the administration, I am implementing a hiring freeze at UNT beginning Aug. 1, 2012. The freeze affects all currently vacant positions except those funded by grants. We understand that there will be some positions that should be filled for safety, health or other critical reasons. Decisions about exceptions to the freeze will be made at the Vice Presidential level.

While I regret having to take this step, I am convinced that this is the prudent thing to do. As I said, our budgets are uncertain. There are many reasons for that in regards to both our revenues and expenditures for FY 2013. First, enrollment here and at other Texas institutions has slowed or declined, which poses problems because a large portion of our budget is enrollment-driven. Second, new waivers and exemptions enacted by the legislature lower our tuition revenue by millions of dollars. Finally, we have been directed to identify further reductions in our forthcoming legislative appropriation request. Taken together, these mean that we must plan for some budget reductions.

My chief concern is that we do not lose the great momentum we have gained in raising our sights and our standards in pursuit of our four bold goals, and that we continue taking steps to protect our loyal and productive employees. In the past few years, we have been one of only a relatively small number of universities that has managed to stay ahead of fiscal crises and not have budget-related layoffs or other employment reductions.

Taking this action now will help ensure our chance of continuing that record. And, while this is not the kind of news I like to share at the start of a new academic year, let me assure you that I still expect us to have a great year. Careful fiscal management will help us meet challenges and hopefully avoid the most disruptive kinds of changes. I deeply appreciate the commitment and support that all of you show every day. This is a great place with a critical mission and a bright future. 

Thanks for all you do.

Sincerely,

V. Lane Rawlins

UNT President

Posted on: Mon 30 July 2012

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