FAIRBORN — The Wright State Board of Trustees unanimously voted in favor of implementing a voluntary separation plan to reduce its faculty workforce before its retrenchment process begins.
In February, the board approved the cut of 113 faculty positions from the university as part of its “restructuring process.” Nearly half the job cuts are from the College of Liberal Arts. The second highest school affected is the College of Science and Mathematics. The School of Nursing and Health Sciences, the Boonshoft School of Medicine, and faculty positions at the Lake Campus are unaffected.
At the time of the February meeting, Wright State University President Sue Edwards recommended that the board include an option for voluntary separation.
“While such a plan is not a required component of retrenchment, the request by President Edwards was seated in her desire to potentially reduce the total number of 113 faculty positions that would otherwise be retrenched,” said Tom Gunlock, chair of the board of trustees.
Retrenchment-facing faculty who participate in the program have two options.
The first is open to faculty members with at least one year of service, in the form of a bonus payout in two installments in 2021 and 2022. For faculty who have between one and 19 years of employment at the university, Wright State would pay 2.5 percent of base salary for each year of continuous service. For faculty with 20 years of service or more, the university would pay 100 percent of their base salary, up to a maximum of $200,000.
The second option is for faculty facing retrenchment who are otherwise eligible for retirement. The bonus payout for those faculty members is up to 100 percent of a person’s base salary if they retire by Dec. 31, 2021. If they retire by May 30, 2022, the payout is 50 percent, and if they retire by May 30, 2023, the payout is 25 percent. The maximum bonus incentive payout would be $200,000.
More benefits would be available if they retire by May 24. Both options also include tuition waivers and payment of increased cost of COBRA-covered healthcare for up to 18 months.
The university worked with the AAUP-WSU faculty union to come to an agreement on the plan. However, according to comments by Gunlock during the April 7 meeting, the AAUP-WSU rejected statements of collaboration that were to be included in the plan’s language. Gunlock said he was “confused” by this action but maintained the cuts were for the continued excellence of the university.
“If the AAUP needs to decide whether it’s part of the problem or the solution, I hope the AAUP decides they are part of the solution,” he said.
The AAUP-WSU could not be reached for comment.