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EWU president to pitch plan to shed 110 jobs, raise tuition

Arévalo: Earlier hiring freeze will help minimize the pain of layoffs. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)
Arévalo: Earlier hiring freeze will help minimize the pain of layoffs. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)

Eastern Washington University President Rodolfo Arévalo proposes to eliminate 110 jobs, increase class sizes, hike tuition and consolidate colleges to cut $26 million from the university’s budget over the next two years.

He’ll present the plan to EWU’s board of trustees on Friday.

“Even though we are making these reductions, we will continue to maintain the integrity of the university’s educational mission by protecting student instruction and support,” Arévalo said. “The hiring freeze I implemented more than a year ago, in anticipation of this difficult situation, will help minimize the amount of actual layoffs.”

EWU’s budget would have been reduced further were it not for $5.5 million in federal stimulus funding, money that will not be available after 2011.

By carving $13.3 million out of next year’s operating budget, those savings will show up again in the 2010-’11 academic year, EWU spokesman David Meany said.

This year’s cuts will come in two phases. In phase one, about $9.6 million will be trimmed through operating budget reductions and job eliminations. Fifty of the 110 jobs to be eliminated are vacant.

How the remaining $3.7 million deficit will be addressed in phase two will depend on the board’s separate decision about raising tuition.

Arévalo will present the trustees with three scenarios for tuition increases: 7 percent, 10 percent or the full 14 percent approved by the Legislature. If trustees raise tuition 14 percent, the resulting revenue could be used to cover the remaining deficit without further cuts in jobs or programs, Meany said.

Arévalo arrived at his budget plan after conducting forums with faculty and staff. In March, the faculty senate submitted ideas for cutting the budget.

Among faculty members’ ideas: reducing the time the university is open, trimming administrative costs, tapping university reserves and eliminating some athletic programs, most notably football.

“The expense of the athletic program seems particularly troublesome in that student activity fees are used to support the program,” according to the faculty’s letter to trustees. “Should the students be required to support athletes if their tuition is to be increased?”

Arévalo previously dismissed any suggestion of eliminating Eagles football.

The board will make a final decision on the budget and tuition at its June 25 meeting on campus.

Kevin Graman can be reached at or (509)459-5433.

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