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UW System Administration Office Announces Dozens Of Layoffs Due To COVID-19

40 Employees Of UW-Shared Services To Be Let Go, System President Says In Memo

Van Hise Hall
A profile of Van Hise Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is pictured against a backdrop of Lake Mendota on June 10, 2010. Jeff Miller/UW-Madison 

University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross has announced the layoffs of dozens of employees working in the division known as UW-Shared Services due to financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a memo sent to UW System Administration employees Thursday and obtained by WPR, Cross said the central office was announcing 40 employees within UW-Shared Services would be laid off. According to a UW System spokesperson, there were 206 employees in the organization, meaning about 19 percent of the workforce would be let go.

In his memo, Cross said his office was announcing difficult decisions.

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“Unfortunately, these decisions are necessary to help us align our resources as we unwind from restructuring, and are made even more critical due to significant financial challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cross.

Cross said he didn’t anticipate additional layoffs at this time.

In response to an interview request with Cross, UW System spokesperson Mark Pitsch replied that there was “nothing more to say” on the matter.

UW-Shared Services plays a central role in the “Blueprint for the University of Wisconsin System Beyond COVID-19,” a recent proposal issued by Cross outlining his vision for the UW System beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. In it, Cross recommended eliminating duplicate degree programs at campuses other than UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee. He also called for centralizing campus administrative functions under UW-Shared Services.

In the proposal, Cross recommended the UW System Administration Office switch from “convener/collaborator/coordinator of this effort to the director and manager,” providing clear guidelines and mandates.

UW-Shared Services was created in July 2018 as part of Cross’ 2020FWD initiative, which seeks to address the state’s workforce and educational needs.

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