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Budget cuts force layoffs at Southern Miss

HATTIESBURG — The University of Southern Mississippi will lay off faculty and staff and other reductions to address an anticipated reduction of $15 million in funding from the state in 2012.

WDAM-TV in Hattiesburg reports that university president Martha Saunders outlined the reductions in a letter to faculty and staff.

Saunders said in the letter that the planned were “especially painful that this announcement comes at a time of record enrollment and unparalleled successes within the university.”

The University Priorities Committee recommended reductions in many departments and degree programs.

“Regrettably, these reductions will result in job losses for faculty and staff. Students enrolled in programs targeted for elimination will be allowed a reasonable time to complete their degree programs. Also, an appeal process is being developed for programs requesting reconsideration,” wrote Saunders.

Saunders said degree programs were being eliminated in five academic colleges.

She said 29 faculty members have been notified that there contracts would not be renewed after the current academic year — 10 in the College of Arts and Letters, three in the College of Business, eight in the College of Education & Psychology, four in the College of Health, three in the College of Science and Technology, and one in the University Libraries. Six of the affected faculty members teach on USM’s Gulf Coast campus.

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