AUSTIN (KXAN) — With a group of student and staff protesting a new Shared Services plan, the University of Texas insists the proposal is not a case of outsourcing.
Shared Services would aim to eliminate nearly 500 administrative positions in the departments of Human Resources, Information Technology, Procurement, and Finance across the university.
Instead, those jobs would be conducted from a more centralized office rather than spread out across several colleges on campus.
“We think by doing this, we can save $30 million -$40 million a year,” said UT spokesperson Gary Susswein.
There are currently about 20,000 employed positions at UT and 12,000 are administrative. Of those 12,000, approximately 4,500 are in the departments identified in Shared Services plan. The goal is to reduce that number to 4,000. UT hopes to trim those 500 positions through attrition and not refilling vacancies rather than through layoffs.
Because UT employees will be involved in the new centralized positions, Susswein said “outsourcing” is not the appropriate word despite it being used in protests.
Students staged a “sit-in” at the office of President William Powers on Wednesday. Many were arrested for criminal trespass after police say they refused to leave even after closing.
In addition to fears over job loss, protestors also objected to the possible influence of Accenture, a consulting and outsourcing company.
But Susswein said Thursday that Accenture is not involved in the Shared Services plan.
“Accenture staff helped UT staff develop some of the proposals we are looking at,” said Susswien. “Right now, there is no relationship between UT and Accenture on this issue.”