Budget forces VIMS to cut 16 posts; leave another 10 vacant
The Virginia Institute of Marine Science will cut 16 positions in January while losing 10 additional faculty positions that won't be filled, all because of the slashing of $6.1 million in state funding over the course of two years.
The fiscal year that began in July had already seen VIMS eliminating or deferring hirings for vacant faculty and staff positions and taking other measures to reduce costs, said spokesman David Malmquist.
VIMS is the graduate school in marine science for the College of William and Mary. Faculty and staff conduct coastal ocean and Chesapeake Bay research and advise state and local agencies, industry and the public. The campus is in Gloucester Point on the banks of the York River.
The 16 positions include eight in academic units and eight in administration and support, Malmquist said. All of the affected employees have been notified. It's a fraction of the 355 faculty and staff, 109 students, 30 emeritus faculty and 14 post-doctoral researchers who work and study there.
VIMS tried to balance this year's budget through acquiring $1.3 million in stimulus funds, reducing hourly and staff positions to save $812,000 and eliminating vacant faculty positions for a savings of $200,000, Malmquist said. The budgets of research centers and state initiative funding were slashed $316,000 and other cuts came from energy savings of $60,000 and shifting personnel to save $105,000.
"Because of these actions, we were able to minimize the loss of existing personnel, although this plan removed virtually all flexibility to absorb future cuts without significant impacts on programs and personnel," Malmquist said.
But in September, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine ordered another 15 percent cut to state agencies and higher education institutions. That translated into $2.8 million in cuts at VIMS, coupled with $3.3 million in previous budget trimming, Malmquist said.
Next year's financial outlook is even less promising.
Dean and Director John Wells is working with staff to find other reductions and has asked William and Mary's Board of Visitors for their "unified and urgent support," Malmquist said.
"Despite the bleak outlook, we remain confident that we will weather this storm."
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