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OU confirms reduction in force, 69 employees impacted

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Evans Hall (copy)

Evans Hall May 29.

OU announced another round of layoffs Thursday afternoon in a press release.

The majority of the 69 employees impacted by the reduction in force were employees of the CART bus system, the Lawton Medical Clinic and the Norman campus operations and marketing area, according to the release.

The reductions reflect a transfer in the operation of the CART bus system to the City of Norman, the transition of the Lawton Clinic in early August to Comanche County Hospital and additional operations and marketing reductions related to a restructuring that have been under review for the past 45 days, according to the release.

“These actions are only occurring because they are necessary and ensure the future health of the university,” interim OU President Joseph Harroz said in the release. “We are mindful of our students and the financial realities they face. Because so many of our students borrow substantial amounts of money to finance their education, we have a responsibility to remain affordable while providing the excellence they demand.”

There is an estimated $640,000 investment in combined notice pay, severance, COBRA (health benefits) and unused/accrued personal time off paid to those employees impacted, which is in keeping with OU’s policy of bridging affected personnel to their next job opportunity, according to the release.

“These employees are co-workers, dear friends and, in many cases, long-time contributors to the success of OU,” Harroz said in the release. “They have families and lives we know will be changed by this reduction action. We are committed to assisting them in the transition with severance and benefits.”

The release followed an earlier report in which sources told The Daily a reduction in force would take place Thursday.

In a June 7 interview with The Daily, interim OU President Joseph Harroz said there was “absolutely a painful component” to correcting OU’s financial issues, and that the change OU must go through will be “really difficult.”

“I'm looking at it through the lens of, ‘What's our mission?’” Harroz said June 7. “How do we keep it affordable? How do we pursue excellence? … We need to make sure that every dollar that we can, that can be focused. It needs to be focused on our mission.”

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Scott Kirker is a letters and Spanish senior and summer editor-in-chief of The Daily. Previously he worked as a news reporter covering research and administrative searches.

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