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ADMINISTRATORS LOOK FOR WAYS AROUND HIRING FREEZE

Because of UND's continuing budget issues, the University announced an immediate freeze on hiring, except in cases in which job offers already have been made and for positions essential to the functioning of the university. With hiring on hold, many on campus worry about the effects on their departments.

Medical School Dean David Wilson asked Baker whether North Dakota would be well served if its new physicians graduated without learning anatomy. Including the anatomy professor, Wilson has 10 faculty positions open in his school, and he says most are essential, such as a chair of the department of pharmacology and toxicology and a director of the school's Center for Rural Health. At the moment, Wilson said, I'm waiting for some orders from the president regarding our positions. He is concerned that a freeze may save money for now but may be a black eye for UND. I am concerned about public perception, Wilson said. I think it paints the picture that higher education is not as important in North Dakota as it was in the past.

Assistant Athletic Director Kathleen McCann said even though the volleyball season is over, the lack of a head coach is hurting the program. The recruiting season is going on right now and we're getting killed, McCann said.

David Vorland, Baker's executive assistant said, we've encouraged the vice presidents to fill only positions considered high-priority. Exceptions will be made only if the open position means the university will not operate. If you need X number of people to operate the heating plant, you don't have any choice but to operate the heating plant. Any exceptions to the freeze will be decided by vice presidents on a case-by-case basis, Vorland said.

Although Baker announced the freeze Tuesday, administrators have been moving slowly with hires all year to offset shortfalls. Vacancies saved UND $1,198,935 in payrolls and fringe benefits this year, Baker said. UND has 131 vacant positions - 38 faculty members and 93 other staff. The administration has been actively recruiting to fill only 43 of these vacant positions. Vorland said the freeze probably will last until the state Board of Higher Education meets in May. However, some on campus worry that some positions may need to be filled before then.

Because of a booming aviation industry, UND Aerospace had problems attracting and keeping mechanics and flight instructors this year. If we get behind on maintenance, planes won't fly, said aerospace spokesman Tim Burke. If the college keeps losing staff, it could be an obstacle for students trying to complete flight training. The college has openings for eight mechanics and 11 or 12 instructors, said aerospace personnel manager Gary Ebel.

Physical Plant Director LeRoy Sondrol said Plant Services has about six open positions. He was mostly concerned about a lack of custodial staff. The buildings may not look as clean as they have. There's only so much square footage we can do.

Grand Forks Herald, March 28, 1998