ANDERSON — As part of ongoing efforts to cut costs, Anderson University officials have eliminated the full-time staff position of sports information directer from the athletic department staff.
Justin Bates, who has held that job since 2001, said Wednesday he was informed of the decision several weeks ago. He will continue in the position until his contract expires at the end of July.
Bates said he was "shocked and surprised" by the news. "I was told it was because the college needed to cut the budget."
While obviously disappointed that his position has been eliminated, Bates said he's not bitter.
"I have no animosity to the university. I'm very appreciative to AU for allowing me to work here as long as I have," Bates said. I love this university with a passion. . . . These have been great years that I will always remember."
Anderson University spokesman Chris Williams said Bates' duties will be assumed by another member of the athletic department staff.
That and other personnel and university program decisions have been driven by a need to permanently cut $3 million from the university's $66 million budget for the 2014-2015 academic year, Williams said.
"This is a process we've been engaged in all year long," Williams said, adding that the overarching goal is to position the private Christian liberal arts university "on a path of strength for the future."
In addition to restructuring staff and faculty assignments, some current job openings won't be filled. Additional savings will be achieved through staff attrition and retirements, Williams said.
Last fall, the university board of trustees approved a strategy to eliminate theater, philosophy and French as majors, and combine art and communication in a new department called visual and communications arts. Those decisions resulted in the elimination of 16 faculty and staff positions.
At the time, Dr. James L. Edwards, president of Anderson University said declining enrollment was the primary driver behind the budget cuts. The full-time equivalent enrollment last year was 1,753, compared to this year’s 1,628.