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UND to offer new round of employee buyouts

GRAND FORKS — University of North Dakota faculty and staff received notice Tuesday, Nov. 20, that the university will once again be offering a voluntary separation program.

Meloney Linder, vice president of marketing and communications at UND, said the move is to align with options that were given to state employees earlier this year.

In June, the state offered agencies a Voluntary Separation Incentive Program, which gave them discretion about whether to offer such a program. More than 250 employees applied for the program and 224 applications were accepted.

Linder said that since that time, UND administration has received queries from faculty and staff about whether such a program would be instituted at UND, which led to the university’s decision to offer the program.

The university previously offered a series of staff and faculty buyouts in 2017. Around 120 UND employees applied for the separation program in 2017 and 84 of the applications were approved. UND spokesman Peter Johnson said those voluntary separation programs were “well received.”

According to the notification, eligibility for the program requires the individual to be a benefited staff or tenured faculty member currently employed at UND. The person must also meet the rule of 65, which means the sum of the employee’s age plus years of service to the university system must be equal to or greater than 65. The individual must meet the criteria as of Nov. 20.

Exclusions to the voluntary separation program would include:

  • The individuals already in a phased retirement program.
  • Employees who have given written notice of their intent to retire or resign prior to Nov. 20.
  • Employees who have previously entered into an agreement with a predetermined employment end date.
  • Any employee who has received notice of termination, notice of nonrenewal or cancelation of their employment contract.
  • Grants and contracts funding cannot be used for any incentive payments.

The application period will commence Monday, Dec. 3, and end at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. Decisions will be made as soon as practicable, the email stated.

Applications will be reviewed by administration to determine if they will be approved.

In colleges, applications will be reviewed by the relevant department chair, dean and vice president. In other units, applications will be reviewed by unit management, associate vice presidents and vice presidents. Final decisions rest with the president.

Linder said she was not aware of a cap on the number of faculty and staff who can apply, but the university will look at the number of applicants and then reconsider.

She also noted that it is “too soon” to know the impact the buyouts would have on the budget, but said she anticipates that there “will be some budget savings.”

North Dakota State University announced Tuesday that it will also be offering a voluntary separation program for its faculty and staff.

Sydney Mook

Sydney Mook has been covering higher education at the Grand Forks Herald since May 2018. She previously served as the multimedia editor and cops, courts and health reporter at the Dickinson Press from January 2016 to May 2018.  She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science in three and half years in December 2015. While at the USD, she worked for the campus newspaper, The Volante, as well as the television news show, Coyote News. She also interned at South Dakota Public Broadcasting and spent the summer before her senior year interning in Fort Knox for the ROTC Cadet Summer Training program. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys cheering on the New York Yankees and the Kentucky Wildcats, as well as playing golf. If you've got an idea for a video be sure to give her a call!

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