Dozens Rally On State Street After Most Recent Job Cuts At Ohio University< < Back to
ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — In the wake of another round of job cuts at Ohio University, more than 50 people stood on East State Street to support those whose positions were cut and express dissatisfaction with administrators’ decisions.
Latisha Price was a groundskeeper whose position was abolished. Price said she has worked at OU for more than 13 years and was a groundskeeper for several years.
“I love my job and I’ve cried every day because I found my niche.”
She said she is now in the “bumping” process, which she described as taking a pay cut to take another job.
“I’m thankful to have a job but still, it’s the whole idea,” she said.
On Tuesday, Ohio University announced 81 positions would be abolished “due to divisional reorganizations.” The university plans to rehire for 23 of these positions. A majority of the people given notice on Tuesday are classified employees.
Serena McCollum, who works in the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, said she is worried about how these job losses will affect people who call Athens County home.
“What do these people do? They may have lived here 30, 40, 50 years,” she said. “To me, it’s always been a point of pride if you work at the university, your kids could come to school here. My son got his degree here, I got my own degree here for working here. At one point it was a nice place to work.”
Dan Maccabee, who works in grounds services, encouraged drivers to honk their horns in support of those who have lost their jobs or have been otherwise impacted by the cuts.
“We also support the professors and the classified, we’re all in this together,” he said.
Maccabee said with athletics teams moving back in and students scheduled to move in for fall semester, it will be difficult for the remaining workers to accomplish the work that needs to be done.
“Hopefully they’ll see when it starts back up in August what they’ve done and hopefully they’ll try to fix it,” he said.
This is a sentiment shared by Cherry Dixon, who was also encouraging passersby to make noise. Dixon works in housekeeping for the dorms and expressed her concern about how to keep residence halls clean and sanitized.
“There’s no possible way a human being, even if you’re working in a group, can get through 14 buildings (on East Green) in an 8-hour period. And do everything, make sure all the high-touch areas are done — let alone do it twice,” she said.
“It’s just been a mess and we don’t know how we’re going to keep up. We just can’t imagine. And this has to be done seven days a week, not five.”
As previously reported, these job eliminations and budget constrictions are part of Ohio University’s response to the projected deficit that more than doubled because of the pandemic.
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