Media Contact: Marla Carpenter, 336-770-3337,



WINSTON-SALEM – The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) will lay off employees, eliminate vacant positions, reduce operating costs, and cut unallocated reserves in an effort to manage permanent reductions in state funding. The moves are part of a plan that will take $2.97 million, or 10.8 percent, from the school’s $27.8 million state appropriation for 2011-12.

Seven filled staff positions, six-and-a-half vacant staff positions, and six vacant faculty positions will be eliminated. An additional two faculty positions will be eliminated through retirement. Another staff position has been moved to receipt-supported, and another to a non-operating budget funding source.

As part of the school’s preliminary cost-reduction efforts, on July 1 UNCSA contracted with Winston-Salem State University to perform UNCSA’s internal audit function, thereby losing the first of the seven filled staff positions.

“I am extremely saddened that it has come to this,” said UNCSA Chancellor John Mauceri. “Losing people who are valuable to this organization is the most painful part of this process. But because salaries make up 75 percent of our total budget, it was inevitable that some cuts would have to be made in personnel.”

Mauceri involved his senior leadership team and deans in deciding how to manage UNCSA’s budget reduction. They also had discussions with the chairs of the faculty and staff councils and the student body president.

“Throughout this process, our priorities have been to keep people in their jobs and to minimize the impact on the training of our student artists,” Chancellor Mauceri continued. “It is our legal and moral obligation to protect the educational core of the school to the fullest extent possible, in order to preserve the mission of UNCSA.”

In June, North Carolina’s adopted budget included some $414 million in cuts to the University of North Carolina system, or 15.6 percent. UNC General Administration warned that UNCSA’s part of a system-wide budget reduction could be as high as $3.2 million, or 11.6 percent. On July 7, the Committee on Budget and Finance of the UNC Board of Governors approved budget cut allocations for the campuses ranging from 8.4 to 17.9 percent – with one amendment. The amendment decreased the UNCSA reduction by $226,948 to account for the fact that UNCSA does not receive tuition from its in-state high school students. With this amendment, UNCSA’s cut for 2011-12 is $2.97 million, or 10.8 percent.

“That number is significantly less than what the school would have received in an across-the-board cut,” Mauceri said. “Other UNC schools are grappling with cuts over 15 percent – which would be devastating for us. We would, literally, be closing our doors.”

Fortunately, UNCSA will not have to close its School of Filmmaking – as was projected in some early budget-reduction scenarios. Still, the film school has borne significant cuts.

Beyond the loss of two faculty positions to retirement, UNCSA faculty were not directly affected, because they have a multi-year contract system. However, cutting the vacant faculty positions will undoubtedly create problems for students, because those salary lines are used by the arts schools to hire adjunct and guest faculty to teach required courses. UNCSA officials are confident that these changes will not impact a student’s ability to graduate on time.

All of the staff members whose jobs are being eliminated will receive severance pay, pay for unused vacation and other accrued leave, and 12 months of health insurance coverage. Those subject to the State Personnel Act will also receive priority re-employment rights at any state agency for two years. UNCSA officials say the loss of the filled and vacant staff positions will put even greater strain on already over-taxed support staff.

UNCSA is struggling to do more with less, as are all UNC institutions. In the case of the School of the Arts, not including this reduction, the cumulative effect of 10 years of multiple budget cuts has resulted in a loss of more than $6.9 million in recurring base budget funding, approximately 25 percent of the school’s current appropriation, and approximately $7.1 million in one-time non-recurring budget reductions to the institution.

In 2009, in addition to cutting departmental operating budgets, UNCSA eliminated five filled staff positions and 13 vacant faculty and staff positions to meet the reductions in state funding. 

To keep employees apprised, UNCSA officials have been communicating with faculty and staff through a budget webpage, http://www.uncsa.edu/announcement/budget.htm.

In an email to campus earlier today, Chancellor Mauceri noted: “If there ever was a time for us to pull together, this is it. Every artist experiences times like these. If we look at the entity known as UNCSA as an artist, then the artist worthy of that name prevails through creativity, passion, hard work and collaboration in the face of adversity. That means, we shall prevail.”

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.