Editor’s Note: Over the past few months, this editorial board, as well as a number of guest columnists, have offered their opinions on Shared Services, the University’s plan to consolidate its workforce by 500 people in the areas of human resources, information technology and finance and procurement over the next five years. On Thursday, we hit the West Mall and asked you, the students, what you thought about the planned shake-up in the staff. Below are some of your responses.
“Of course you want as many jobs as you can, but you also don’t want to waste money … that’s being wasted. So it’s a very difficult question. I mean, the Democrat in me wants to keep the jobs; the Republican in me wants to get rid of the jobs. If there’s any kind of balance that could be found, I think that would be best. I mean you want to consolidate, but I think getting rid of 500 jobs, that’s kind of damaging to a lot of people. So maybe not as much consolidation.” —biology junior Chris Collier
“I mean, is it the elimination against the will of the people who are employed? So I will say this: there’s this class that I took — I’m a computer science major — so there’s this class that I took called Contemporary Issues in Computer Science, and a portion of the class was just going over the history of technological development over the past 50 or 60 years. While it might be maybe a bit cynical to say this, inevitably as technology develops, we create systems that are able to automate many of the processes that, in the past, we have had to do manually or through other means. And in doing so, what’s going to happen is that jobs that people once had are going to be replaced by machines. I don’t know if that’s exactly what’s happening in this situation, but it sounds like it. And while I want to say that this is good, it definitely has a negative impact.” —computer science senior Vamsi Vishnubhotla
“I know of [Shared Services]; I know it has affected some of my co-workers and some departments that I am passingly familiar with. I guess it hasn’t hit our department yet. I do course scheduling so it hasn’t hit me directly. But I know about it. But, not a whole lot on a practical level. I think there is a lot of fear, and given that a lot of folks are already doing a lot more than they used to have, I think that for practical implications it won’t be felt until it starts hitting in bigger ways.” —College of Liberal Arts course scheduler Victoria Vlach
“I don’t see why a public institution should have to consolidate when it should try to provide jobs and provide income for any people as possible. Well it’s a public institution, taxes
pay for it — government funding — so it should go back into the community. Why not?” —music performance junior Brenham Adams
“Depends if they are superfluous jobs. I can’t say I know exactly which ones are being eliminated, I guess I’d need more details on that. I think there are probably a lot of superfluous administrative positions at UT. I just don’t know what they are. I don’t know what the initiative would be tackling. I think that’s potentially good. Everyone freaks out at the sound of less jobs, but there’s also an issue with college campuses having too many administrative positions and most of our tuition — or at least a large portion of it, so I think it has potential.” —Michael Wiggins, biomedical engineering student