FIRST ON WITN: ECU To Eliminate Up To 150 Positions, Cut $25 Million

East Carolina University Trustees say they have to cut $25 million in the university's budget in each of the next two years.

That amounts to a 7% cut and means the loss of up to 150 positions. The university says half of those positions are currently filled.

Trustees met via a telephone conference call Tuesday evening in a special meeting. The trustees talked at length about "efficiency management" of all departments at ECU.

The university says the 7% cut could increase in the coming months to a 15% reduction.

ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard says, "Class sizes are going to go up. Students are not going to get as fast service in some areas as they like. They'll have to pay some more for a few specific things, like recreation and so on--we don't know that yet, but we're trying to prioritize it so the most essential things about public education are maintained."

University spokesman John Durham says ECU has been preparing for cuts for several months now, already instituting a hiring freeze. He says they're cutting way back on travel, buying only essential items and taking a careful look at programs across board.

Durham says the university is doing everything it can to protect the core of the institution -- teaching.

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