Faculty cuts avoided, 12 accept voluntary separation package

By Elizabeth Coss / The Jambar

The Office of Academic Affairs announced in an email Feb. 19 faculty cuts are no longer needed following collaborative efforts between Youngstown State University’s administration and faculty members. 

According to interim Provost Jennifer Pintar, 12 faculty accepted a voluntary separation retirement package and will be compensated with 80% of their salary as severance for next year. 

“Thirteen [faculty] applied. We did reject one and we accepted 12,” Pintar said. “We had one that submitted their [VSRP] and we said no, that we really needed that faculty member to stay. The faculty member was fine with pulling their application back out. So, the total is 12 [faculty] that are going to be leaving the institution.”

The university offered a VSRP to tenured faculty employed in programs that underwent restructuring or are being sunset this academic year. In January, the university announced six degrees would be sunset and up to 13 faculty could face forced retrenchments if there weren’t enough VSRP’s accepted.  


Pintar provided The Jambar with a breakdown on how many VSRP’s were accepted per each department:

— Art Department: 3 out of 9 tenured faculty accepted a VSRP

— Dana School of Music: 7 out of 20 tenured faculty accepted a VSRP

— Fashion Merchandise Program: 1 out of 1 tenured faculty accepted a VSRP

— Geography Program: 1 out of 4 tenured faculty accepted a VSRP


Additionally in the Dana School of Music, one non-tenured faculty member will not have their one-year contract renewed. 

Twelve professors accepted the voluntary separation retirement package. Photo by Elizabeth Coss / The Jambar

While the VSRP enforces faculty departure at the end of the academic year, some faculty who accepted the VSRP may still be required to teach summer courses depending on the program.

Retrenchments were in consideration following an Academic Senate meeting in January. YSU’s decision to cut degrees and potentially faculty faced public criticism through protests and a petition that garnered over 20,000 signatures. 

Pintar explained the VSRP was part of the collective bargaining agreement, in an attempt to “exhaust all other means” of personnel reduction before retrenchment.

“[The reason] we’ve used this for the past three years actually is to offer an incentive just like a severance package, and many corporations do this,” Pintar said. “This one was very successful because it was directed to the areas that we really wanted to address.”

Pintar said YSU is committed to completing a continual evaluation process demanded by the state of Ohio. 

“A lot of our money comes from the state and the federal government and we need to comply with their guidelines,” Pintar said. “We will always evaluate our programs. We hope that it doesn’t result in faculty loss or personnel loss, but it is a process where we have to work as a team. The faculty help with recruitment. The faculty help with retention, and the administration continues to work toward adding programs and guiding programs that pique students interest.”

Pintar said the university is grateful a resolution was met.

“We’re very grateful for the faculty members that did step forward and we’re happy that contributed to the resolution of the situation, but it’s not a long-term strategy to constantly have to go through processes like this, but we’re very happy when it turns out to be something more positive for the institution and for our students,” Pintar said.