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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Fusco addresses University of Akron issues

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City of Akron Press Release
Published: 07-30-2015

PRESS RELEASE

City of Akron 166 S. High Street Akron, Ohio 44308

(330)-375-2345 Fax:(330)- 375-2468

Web: www.akronohio.gov

For Immediate Release
Contact:   Richard A. Merolla, Chief of Staff

[email protected] or 330-375-2345

Comments from Mayor Fusco regarding cost reduction announcements at University of Akron

            Akron, Ohio (July 30, 2015) –I have been asked by several people in the media to comment on the recent announcement by the University of Akron regarding budget cuts.  I plan on holding a press conference next week regarding other topics, but many in the media are asking for my comments now.

Here are my thoughts:

As Mayor, it is always troubling news when an employer announces layoffs.  It is not simply the loss of some tax base; it is the dramatic impact on the families of the affected university employees and students. My thoughts and prayers are with them, as it was with the City employees during the City’s painful layoff process in 2009. I understand the need for budget cuts.  The State has not been a friend of cities or higher education.  While the state is bragging about their large fund balance, a significant part of that was achieved by cutting funding to cities, counties, libraries, schools and universities.
I am not intimately familiar with U of A operations, so to comment on the particular areas they determined needed to be cut would be doing so without the facts.
Regarding the cuts at EJ Thomas Hall, that facility has hosted quality entertainment for Akron residents and has been a significant component of quality of life our citizens enjoy.
I firmly believe that the recent announcement by the University of Akron is not the last gasp for this magnificent performing arts center.
In the short term, I trust the University will treat fairly those who already hold tickets to the cancelled events.
For the long term, we stand ready to assist the community to look for new venues to host the events that are being cancelled. We also stand ready to do everything possible to assist in the effort to look for alternative funding options to keep the events at EJ Thomas. 
I have heard comments from the public that Civic Theater might be able to host some or all of these events.  I am not sure that is possible, but I will discuss this issue with the leadership of the Civic.

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