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SOU cuts student employment

Among other results of the cutbacks, the library's services and hours are limited

ASHLAND ' Financially strapped Southern Oregon University students will have to look outside the school for part-time jobs, thanks to campuswide cuts in student employment.

Student jobs throughout the university have been eliminated to help make up for a &

36;3.5 million shortfall in SOU's budget for the 2001-2003 biennium. Other impacts have included a hiring freeze, fewer classes and planned layoffs of support staff and adjunct professors.

Students need even more employment opportunities, and here we are eliminating them, said Bruce Moats, director for SOU's physical plant.

Departments across campus were able to hire student employees through the general fund until declining state revenues required schools to tighten their belts, according to Charles Lane, SOU's interim provost.

Lane said student staffing levels will not improve this academic year.

The impacts are real. We are very much aware that the majority of our students need financial aid ' whatever aid is available, he said.

SOU also faces the possibility of an additional &

36;438,000 in cuts depending on the outcome of an income-tax increase voters will consider in January.

Moats said the physical plant cut more than &

36;90,000 from its custodial budget since last January, resulting in the loss of about 12 student positions.

With increased budget constraints, the department cut another &

36;20,000 from its budget, losing three student grounds-keeping positions.

This year, we gave up all of our student employees, Moats said.

Moats noted that the students were able to assist in maintaining the grounds daily. Without student support, the grounds are now maintained three times per week.

The SOU library is also cutting back on student help. Its budget for student employment was reduced by &

36;30,000, which is approximately 4,500 hours of student work, said SOU Library Director Sue Burkholder.

Without student support, some services will be limited, she said.

Probably the biggest impact we'll be seeing is we've had to reduce our hours, Burkholder said. The library will close an hour earlier, at 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday and will be closed on Saturdays.

Junior David Vail, a history major, was disappointed with the cutback in library hours.

They're (SOU) supposed to benefit and fulfill our needs in a scholarly manner, he said. Ultimately, I think it keeps us from achieving.

While the library and grounds crews are hiring no new students, the Computing Services Center has been able to keep about 30 student employees by capping the number of work hours each. Natalie Holihan, technical lab coordinator, said each student employee gets six hours per week ' no exception.

Students who were able to find employment through the university listed the advantages of an on-campus job.

I like having a job on campus so I don't have to think of driving to work. I can just stay here, said freshman Kevin Brown, who works in the Computing Services Center.

Sophomore Natasha Lipinsky also likes being close to both school and campus.

The advantage of working on campus is you get to interact with people. It makes it fun to work with the people you go to class with, Lipinsky said. She is employed part-time by Elmo's and Cascade in the Stevenson Union, where food-service positions for students are still available.

Lane explained those positions are paid through an auxiliary fund that is supplemented by outside revenues, not general fund or work-study funds.

We'll feel the pinch, but for us, it's more of a trickle-down effect, said Mike Brown, SOU food services manager.

Amber Fossen is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach her at 482-3456.