After two weeks of limbo, Akron reinstates university press staff

Commits to maintaining press reputation

Two weeks after laying off more than 160 employees, the University of Akron (UA) is rehiring the two members of its university press, Karen Farkas reports for the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

The layoffs were part of a broader effort to save the school $40 million that leaders say was necessary. In the wake of the layoffs, the school faced protests on campus and on social media, especially surrounding renovations to the president's home that included a $556.40 olive jar. Last week, top leaders apologized for poor communication throughout the process.

For the last two weeks, the status of the university press has been somewhat in limbo. Two of the three members of the staff were laid off on July 28, and the final member was given notice that his position would be eliminated in January 2016. Early reports suggested both that the press would close and that there was a plan for keeping it open.

Early last week, UA's provost said the press would move under management of the university libraries. The press' board of directors objected to that plan.

UA President Scott Scarborough settled the matter by announcing Monday that he plans to rehire the two press staff members who were laid off. He says the school is also taking action to ensure it "maintains its well-earned reputation as a vibrant, active academic press" (Farkas, Northeast Ohio Media Group, 8/17; Kirch, Publisher's Weekly, 7/30).

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