“One hundred in three years will decimate our university”
Like many schools, William Paterson University in New Jersey is struggling due to lower enrollment and the pandemic. They have a huge deficit problem here.
Inside Higher Ed reports:
‘COVID Was the Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back’
Thirteen tenure-track or tenured professors are finishing up their last semester at William Paterson University in New Jersey, having been laid off this year due to budget problems exacerbated by COVID-19.
Now professors who thought their jobs were safe—and who agreed to a number of concessions in order to save as many colleagues’ jobs as possible in the first round of cuts—are facing another, bigger round of layoffs: citing ongoing declining enrollment and a $30 million structural deficit, William Paterson proposed cutting 150 more professors over three years, or about 40 percent of the full-time faculty.
That number has since been reduced to 100 over three years, with the faculty union agreeing to even more concessions. It’s also possible that a few more professors will opt for special retirement packages by a January deadline. But the prospect of losing anything close to 100 professors, out of about 340 total, has the faculty at William Paterson worried about not just their jobs but the future of the institution as a whole.
“One hundred in three years will decimate our university,” said Susanna Tardi, professor of sociology and criminal justice and president of the American Federation of Teachers–affiliated faculty union. “The instability is a detriment for the people who are at the university whose jobs are not currently in danger but could be, depending upon the future. It’s a detriment to trying to develop programs that you think might be viable, because you don’t have the appropriate faculty to be able to serve those programs.”
A tenured faculty member who did not want to be quoted by name, out of fear of being targeted for the second round of layoffs, said, “Morale is terrible, yet faculty are still putting in overtime helping our students who have been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic.”
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