University of Connecticut officials informed their employees Monday they have extended the hiring freeze to include vacant teaching positions.

“Most positions will need to remain vacant while the University resolves its projected operating deficits,” interim UConn President Phil Austin wrote the university’s 6,300 employees.

When department heads feel it is “essential” to fill certain vacancies they can still appeal to top UConn officials. Michael Kirk, a spokesman for UConn, said filling necessary teaching positions will remain a priority.

“It takes a certain number of professors to continue to offer the courses that need to be offered,” he said.

This announcement comes one month after Provost Peter Nicholls wrote employees informing them all non-teaching hiring decisions would be delayed as the university works to close its $46 million deficit for the upcoming year.

UConn faces a nearly $25 million a year cut from the state and has already voted to increase tuition and fees by 2.5 percent to make up about one-third of that. Deeper cuts could be imposed if the Malloy administration does not reach agreement with unions on labor cost reductions.

“As you know, the financial challenges facing the State and the University are extremely serious. For the next several months and possibly beyond, the fiscal situation creates the need to use even tighter controls over expenditures than exist at present,” Austin wrote.

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