University News

University announces 60 staff layoffs

By
Senior Staff Writer

The University will lay off approximately 60 staff members in June, administrators announced to employees via e-mail message Monday morning. This figure does not include the 139 staff members who have opted for voluntary early retirement packages.

Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Beppie Huidekoper said in an interview with The Herald shortly after the e-mail was sent out that the elimination of these currently filled positions was based on the February report from the Organizational Review Committee. The committee was tasked with finding $14 million of savings in Brown’s budget for the 2010–11 fiscal year.

“As we have stressed throughout this process, in addition to improving efficiencies while protecting our academic programs and student life experiences, the plans are focused on limiting the number of layoffs that will become effective on July 1, 2010 and providing support for those whose jobs are being eliminated,” Provost David Kertzer ’69 P’95 P’98 and Huidekoper wrote in their e-mail to employees.

According to the e-mail, these employees’ severance packages will provide four weeks of compensation for every year worked at Brown, up to 40 weeks. The packages will also provide health coverage during the severance period.

The message emphasized services the University will provide to the employees whose positions are being eliminated, including training programs, career counseling, financial planning, outplacement support and “placement wherever possible in alternative positions at Brown.”

Though the review committee report recommended the elimination of certain positions, the University will also create some new jobs and merge other existing positions. Some positions vacated by retirees will be refilled. Huidekoper said the training programs would not be geared toward obtaining other jobs at Brown, but the skills employees could learn through them would be helpful to finding future employment. She said she cannot be certain yet how many of the 60 terminated employees will seek or obtain alternative positions at Brown.

“We want to make sure the individuals are fully supported,” Huidekoper told The Herald.
Huidekoper said last year’s 31 terminated employees were offered similar outplacement and support services, but less “in-house training.” Also new this year, employees with more than 10 years of service will be given additional compensation, but Huidekoper said she could not disclose more details on this bonus.

According to Huidekoper, the layoffs are spread evenly throughout all 12 areas of the Organizational Review Committee’s focus. She said most employees will be informed of their terminations in person over the next few weeks.

“Our goal is to complete this process as soon as possible but with as much care as needed,” Huidekoper said in a press release issued Monday morning.

“These are enormously challenging times for our entire community,” Kertzer said in the same statement. “The economic downturn has forced the University to review and rethink the way we operate in order to reduce budget deficits while maintaining academic excellence in teaching and research.”