University enacts “hiring pause”

The University of Minnesota is now under a “hiring pause,” University President Bob Bruininks said in a statement released Tuesday. Effective immediately, the pause is intended to evaluate open positions and make sure they are essential before each is filled. Part-time student workers will not be affected. The announcement comes as colleges across the country are tightening their collective belts, and state and University officials are bracing for a projected state deficit between $1 billion and $4 billion when the Legislature convenes in January. The deficit could mean additional cuts for the school, said chairwoman of the Senate Higher Education Committee Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul. Pappas called the hiring pause âÄúwise,âÄù and said the University should start taking âÄúcautionary measures.âÄù âÄúWeâÄôre going to have to fight really hard to keep funding stable at the University,âÄù she said. Bruininks defined an âÄúessentialâÄù job as one that is necessary to University operations, such as critical health and safety functions as well as occupations that ensure the University meets its academic and financial responsibilities. “We have no idea what tomorrow holds economically, but there are still storm clouds on the horizon,” Bruininks said. The hiring pause amounts to a “stop and think rule,” according to the release. The University will aim to control costs given the bleak economic outlook “sooner rather than later,” Bruininks said. The announcement comes three weeks after Bruininks issued a campus-wide e-mail detailing the UniversityâÄôs financial health. At that time, he also acknowledged the possibility of drastic efforts to ensure the UniversityâÄôs financial security.