USM May Lay Off 18 Employees

Some University of Southern Mississippi employees may soon lose their jobs.

USM President Shelby Thames says he's working on a university restructuring that will include 18 layoffs. Thames says the layoffs will come in the service and administrative areas.

He told the Hattiesburg American newspaper editorial board that the layoffs are intended to help offset a $3.5 million shortfall in USM's budget for the fiscal year starting July 1st. He says they are effective June 30th.

Thames also said he is considering the elimination or consolidation of programs to save money. He declined to elaborate.

Thames' comments on the layoffs came with the announcement that Don Cotten resigned his position as research vice president and graduate dean.

Cotten was one of 11 candidates interviewed for the job Thames took more than six weeks ago. He is the third of eight cabinet level administrators to leave USM this month.