Interim OU President Joseph Harroz released a letter to the OU community Thursday afternoon as the university confirmed it carried out a reduction in force.
“Today a reduction in force has taken place at our university,” Harroz wrote in the letter. “The impact to those affected is real, and this is difficult because we care deeply about our OU family. As unfortunate as this action is for the individuals, it is essential for our financial health and to prepare OU for future growth and excellence.”
In the letter, Harroz wrote OU’s top priority is fulfilling its mission of “educating the next generation of leaders, creating knowledge and serving society” while maintaining affordability for students.
“Because most students borrow substantial amounts of money to finance their education,” Harroz wrote in the letter, “we must be as efficient as possible. We owe this to our students and to our state.”
In the letter, Harroz stated the reduction in force was necessary for OU to work toward financial stability and future growth. Harroz said he would later send another letter detailing the current budget status, but did not say exactly when.
“To assist those who are losing their positions, we have committed $640,000 in university funds to bridge their transition to other employment," Harroz wrote. “In addition to other support, we are providing two months of employment/pay and up to an additional three months of pay based on length of service.”
The affected employees will also be continue receiving COBRA medical benefits for two to five months based on length of service, Harroz wrote in the letter, and the employees will be eligible to apply for open university positions.
Harroz said the university will help the affected employees find “other, available opportunities at OU and elsewhere.”
“Both for those impacted and the university, there are brighter days ahead,” Harroz wrote in the letter. “We are taking these steps today to ensure that the important and proud legacy of our past is a prelude to our best tomorrow."