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Dickinson State plans layoffs, eliminating programs in budget cuts

Dickinson State plans layoffs, eliminating programs in budget cuts

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DSU

The Legislature approved a bill that would provide Dickinson State University enough funds to keep its nursing program. 

Dickinson State University plans to eliminate 14 more employee positions and six academic programs as it makes budget cuts.

The school faces a shortfall of more than $7 million this biennium. The proposal announced Thursday includes cuts that add up to $5.3 million. The school plans to make up the rest to balance its budget by using $2.2 million of institutional reserves.

The proposal will be submitted to the chancellor of the North Dakota University System and the State Board of Higher Education for approval.

The school plans to stop offering bachelor's degrees in Spanish, English, math, art, art entrepreneurship and art education, according to a press release.

Twenty-three students have declared majors in those fields, and those who are not graduating this spring will work with their advisers to identify a path for degree completion, the university said.

Faculty who will be cut and are under contract will continue to teach through the rest of their contract period, according to the school. Staff members have been given a two-week notice and will receive a month of severance pay, as well as health benefits that continue through March.

The university said it has already cut 22 positions since June 2019 through unfilled vacancies, early retirements and voluntary separations.

Interim President Steve Easton said the proposed cuts are based on the work of the university's task force, cabinet and academic chairs, as well as a review of budget, programmatic and statistical information.

"The life of an institution, like the life of a human being, has tough days and good days," he said in a statement. "This, most definitely is one of the really tough days ... though we will certainly miss all who have left or will leave us, DSU still has amazing human and other assets."

The university plans to hold an open public forum to discuss the proposed cuts at noon Tuesday in the Beck Auditorium of Klinefelter Hall.

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