By Christina Huynh
Following Gov. Mike Beebe’s directive to suspend drawing federal funds during the government shutdown, several four-year Arkansas universities may ask hundreds of employees to take unpaid temporary leaves of absence starting Wednesday, officials said.
At University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, as many as 100 employees could be furloughed as a result of the federal shutdown, the university said in a statement. Jim Rankin, vice provost for research and economic development, said the university has requested certification from the state finance department to “allow funds to be drawn down to support programs in which the funding source is still available.”
University of Arkansas at Little Rock spokesman Judy Williams said 245 employees may be furloughed while the university also works with the state department to determine which programs may still have access to draw downs of federal cash.
At Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, 26 employees including 11 full-time staff members and 15 graduate assistants could be furloughed, university spokesman Jeff Hankins said in a statement. An additional four full-time employees may experience salary cuts since some of their pay is federally funded.
Twelve employees at the University of Central Arkansas already have been furloughed, and two full-time employees are in jeopardy of being furloughed, the university’s vice president of finance and administration Diane Newton said. University officials have submitted paperwork requesting that those two full-time employees not be furloughed since 75 percent of their work is in the classroom, she said.
Seventeen employees Arkansas Tech University have been notified that they will be furloughed, university spokesman Sam Strasner said. There is no potential that more ATU employees could be furloughed that Strasner said he is “aware of [at] this time.”
At other universities, including University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Henderson State University, officials told Arkansas Online that it was not immediately clear if employees would be furloughed if the government shutdown continued.