Among the 18 Hartwick College employees who were laid off last week were several long-time staff members who held significant positions of leadership, college officials said Monday.
The names and positions of the eliminated employees, all of whom were non-faculty, were announced at a Monday morning meeting of the faculty and academic affairs staff at the Oneonta campus. Ten of the 18 positions were in the division of academic affairs and more than half of the eliminated individuals interacted with students on a daily basis, officials said.
This information had been previously withheld in an effort to “protect those individuals who are most directly impacted,” President Margaret L. Drugovich said last week. Since then, multiple university employees expressed frustration at the way in which employees were let go, and requested that the administration provide the names of those who were cut to make the process smoother and easier for all.
Drugovich sent out an email last Wednesday notifying the campus community of the “changes to the 2015-2016 budget,” which meant 18 filled positions and five vacant positions were being eliminated to address an estimated $1.68 million shortfall in the university's budget, effective immediately. Additionally, five employees were notified that their positions were being reduced to nine, 10 or 11 months of service. All eliminated individuals were offered severance packages, according to Drugovich.
One of those laid off was the associate director of student success, college officials said Monday. The employee who served in this role had been recognized in 2013 at the college's annual Quinquennial Awards Celebration for more than 15 years of service.
According to Hartwick's website, the associate director of student success evaluates student credits, assists students in creating course schedules and manages Hartwick's early alert system, which provides support for students having academic or personal challenges.
Also among the eliminated positions were the director of marketing and communications, assistant registrar, manager of special events, purchasing manager, copy and mail center assistant operator, executive assistant to the vice president for student affairs, administrative assistant for campus activities, and several secretarial positions.
Three of the five positions that were reduced to nine, 10 or 11 month-jobs were library jobs, and one was the supervisor of the writing center, officials said.
Michael G. Tannenbaum, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the college became aware of the budget shortfall near the end of May. According to Drugovich, the deficit was caused by a smaller incoming freshman class.
The college typically enrolls about 1,500 students total, but it is expecting 1,357 total enrollment for the coming academic year. A 3.5 percent increase in tuition brings the coming year's cost to $40,639 a year, according to David Lubell, Hartwick's media relations manager.
Revenue from tuition and fees are the college’s primary economic engine, funding academic programs, co-curricular programs, athletic programs and teaching and non-teaching professional positions, Lubell said. The college also funds significant financial assistance for its students.
According to Tannenbaum, 300 freshman are enrolled for next semester, which is about 150 fewer students than average. The lower number is due, in part, to declining high school graduation rates, Lubell said.
Tannenbaum said the college is working to see how it can change or add to the existing curriculum to attract more students.
"Is this the beginning of the end for Hartwick? No," Tannenbaum said at the Monday meeting. "Is it the end of some things we're doing? Maybe. For a short period of time, Hartwick's going to be smaller than it was. We have no reason not to believe that the college will be here 100 years from now. It just may not look quite the same."