The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Restructuring leads to layoffs

Budget changes prompt layoffs

The university laid off at least 20 people in the days that followed the 2018 Commencement, citing efforts to restructure the upcoming year’s budget.

“They did good work here,” said Joseph Kender, vice president of University Relations, in a June interview with The Hawk. “We just need something different. All of this is being done so we can deliver a better experience going forward.”

The layoffs spanned offices across the university, including Student Leadership and Activities, Student Success, Academic Technology and Distributed Learning (ATDL), Marketing Communications and the Library.

One of the most notable layoffs was the position of assistant vice president for student development and Title IX Coordinator, previously held by Mary-Elaine Perry, Ph.D. Perry now holds the title of Title IX Coordinator.

Some of the vacated positions were restaffed over the summer and some were not. Others were restructured and responsibilities were re-assigned to existing positions. Other positions were eliminated all together.

One of the units most impacted was Student Leadership and Activities. Cary Anderson Ed.D., vice president of Student Life said the layoffs were made to improve student support, with the hope that the reorganization would not cause much disruption.

“Specific positions were identified for elimination for a variety of reasons, such as positions that were open due to people having voluntarily left the university, redundancy of responsibilities, opportunity to improve efficiencies and the like,” Anderson said. “A number of new positions were also created in order to meet our goals and most of those were filled over the summer.”

According to Anderson, the impact of the changes will be evaluated over the course of the semester.

“If there is a legitimate need to do something, then we will shift things around to address that need,” he said.

While most of the cuts involved staff positions, the sudden changes at the end of the school year have faculty concerned about what this means in a broader sense for Hawk Hill.

Faculty senate president, Ronald Dufresne, Ph.D., said he is worried about the consequences of the restructuring and how some colleagues may have to pick up more work.

“Let’s not just think of the short term,” he said. “We also have to look at the sustainability of ensuring that our colleagues are physically able to serve [other] colleagues in the way they need to be served.”

Dufresne acknowledged that this restructuring is a fine balancing act and that there may be an effect on students.

“To the extent that every colleague that was here is not here, I think the student experience to some degree will be diminished,” he said.

Dufresne also acknowledged the university’s need to balance its financial responsibilities of keeping tuition as low as possible and avoiding layoffs.

“I don’t think any of us are numb to the idea of losing a colleague,” Dufresne said. “I think there might be some numbness that this is kind of what we’ve been doing for the past few years.”

While rumors have circulated about additional cuts, there are no further planned layoffs for the upcoming fall semester, Anderson said.

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