College Releases Fall 2020 Pandemic-Related Budget Cuts

Max Shannon '24, Associate News Editor

Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the college’s remote-taught fall, the college has had to cut back on various expenses including furloughs, layoffs, and staff budget reduction to mitigate the fiscal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brontè Burleigh-Jones, vice president for finance and administration, said that total loss in revenue from the spring 2020 through this upcoming spring 2021 semester could result in $33-39 million lost.

Burleigh-Jones noted that in spring 2020, “the college experienced $9 million in lost revenue from room and board and other revenues as a result of the required campus shut down.”

In addition, the decision to move  the 2020 fall semester online cost the college “an additional $15million,” which brings the total loss of revenue to $24 million this year. Burleigh-Jones said revenue losses for the 2021 spring semester is “estimated between $9 million to $15 million,” depending how many students return to campus.

The cuts to spending this academic year total $4.235 million, said Burleigh-Jones. Of the money deducted, staff and furloughs were $935,000, 10 percent reduction of staff salaries made up $200,000, and a 10-month suspension of 403b equated to $3.1 million saved, according to Burleigh-Jones.

Positions were cut from departments where “fewer employees are needed on campus to support the small number of students in residence,” said Burleigh-Jones. Burleigh-Jones said that employees who are “partially furloughed are working some portion of their regular schedule” whereas fully furloughed employees do not work at all. In both circumstances, employees will still receive their healthcare and other benefits.

 According to Kristen Kostecky, associate vice president for Campus Operations, a total of 67 employees have been either furloughed or laid-off due to the budget cuts. Kostecky said among the personnel impacted, 30 came from Dining Services, nine from Conference and Special Events, five from mailroom, and 23 facilities.

Despite the shortfall in employees, Kostecky believed “All staffing adjustments were driven by campus occupancy and that with the return of students in the spring we expect to reinstate all impacted employees.”

Dining Services has also been affected by these cuts. “We reduced scheduling by 30 employees and we are not employing casual workers,” said Errol Huffman, director of dining services. Huffman said that there have been 18 furloughs and 12 layoffs in Dining Services due to the pandemic.

Huffman felt hopeful staffing will “return to pre-COVID staffing practices when the environment changes and we are able to return to relatively normal operations.”