MIAMI — Northeastern Oklahoma A&M announced Wednesday that it has initiated a series of measures to compensate for a reduced budget, the result of COVID-19 and other related issues.

NEO is addressing the budget shortfall while at the same time planning for a safe reopening of the campus this fall.

The college is taking the following actions:

1. Eliminating the Natural Resource Ecology and Management program and the Process Technology program, due to low enrollment. NEO will offer the courses needed for students enrolled during the spring 2020 semester to complete their degree.

2. Seven faculty contracts were not renewed.

3. Notified 10 staff members that their employment will end on June 30.

4. Suspension of the equestrian team for the 2020-21 season.

“The economic uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the reduction in state support next fiscal year significantly impacted our budget, so we worked to reduce our costs to avoid raising tuition,” said NEO president Dr. Kyle Stafford. “Affordability and accessibility to higher education has never been more important for our students and their families. As part of re-examining of our budget, we had to make terribly difficult decisions that affect members of our campus community who have given so much of themselves to our college.

“Moving forward, we will continue to seek ways to focus our resources, while maintaining quality academic programs and the personal experience our students enjoy at NEO.”

NEO A&M, like virtually everything else statewide, fell victim to the coronavirus pandemic which resulted in domino-like issues: a decrease in oil and gas revenues, a cut in state funding for the upcoming fiscal year and a decrease in summer and projected enrollment.

It was announced last week that the college would move its July classes to an online hybrid format.