The University will lay off 43 employees across various offices and job levels to cut costs after the financial crisis triggered a 22.7 percent drop in the value of the endowment, administrators announced late Thursday afternoon.
In addition to the 43 eliminated positions, 18 employees have had their hours involuntarily reduced. There will be no further layoffs or involuntary reductions as part of the current two-year budget-reduction plan, the University announced.
All employees affected will leave by the end of the fiscal year, on June 30, 2010.
The decision to lay off employees was made by administrators in a number of different departments to meet operating budget reductions imposed by the University, University spokeswoman Cass Cliatt ’96 said.
In April, the University announced that departments would be subject to an average budget cut of 7.5 percent over each of the next two years, a number to which they are still adhering despite the fact that the University saw an endowment loss smaller than was initially projected.
“Whether the [target budget] would be achieved in reduction in hours, elimination of positions or shifting of positions” was left to the discretion of the individual departments, Cliatt explained.
All the laid-off employees are staff members and not faculty, President Tilghman said.
“There will not be a comparable layoff with faculty,” she said. “Faculty are core to the mission of the University.”
The layoffs come close on the heels of the incentivized retirement program announced by the University last summer. Roughly one-third of the 460 people eligible for the retirement program elected to retire by the end of this academic year.
The University currently has roughly 5,200 employees, of whom about 1,000 are faculty members, Cliatt said, adding that the figures were a rough estimate “given that the various personnel reductions place everything in flux.”
Vice President for Human Resources Lianne Sullivan-Crowley and Provost Chris topher Eisgruber ’83 referred all inquiries to Cliatt.
This year marks “the first time in recent memory that there has been this number of layoffs across the University in a concentrated period of time,” Cliatt said in an e-mail.
Tilghman said the last time there was a comparable budget reduction was “the late 1980s,” but she added that she did “not remember if there were layoffs to the extent that there are now.” Tilghman also said she is not certain the positions that were eliminated would be reinstituted if the economic situation at the University improves.
“I think that, instead of immediately reinstituting the positions, we would think hard about what would be the right set of decisions to take to go forward,” Tilghman explained.
She explained she is aware of the emotional toll that layoffs can take on the departments and individuals involved.
“Layoffs are a very, very difficult thing for any individual, and we are trying to do this in a way that is not demoralizing to them or their colleagues,” Tilghman said, adding that Human Resources has been “working literally around the clock for the last month ensuring that we are dong this in the most thoughtful and most humane way.”
Tilghman first notified the campus community that there would be layoffs in a Sept. 29 e-mail. At the time, she declined to comment on how many or which staff members would be fired.
All of the employees who will be terminated were notified of the decision starting last Thursday, Cliatt said. Tilghman noted that the employees who were laid off would have assistance in finding new positions within the University or outside.
“We are going to have outplacement services that they can take advantage of to look for positions outside the University,” Tilghman said, adding that the University would also “try to the greatest extent possible to match those who are laid off with other openings across the University as a result of the voluntary retirement program.”
That program allowed the University to reduce the number of layoffs it will be making, Eisgruber said in an e-mail last month to The Daily Princetonian.
“The number will be less than it would have been without the successful [program] and the vacancy savings achieved by our managers over the last six months, and significantly less than the number of layoffs that have been necessary at some of our peer institutions,” he explained.
Harvard announced on June 23 that it would be laying off 275 employees, and last spring Yale announced it was cutting roughly 100 jobs. Last month, Stanford announced it was cutting 500 positions this year because of the drop in its endowment.
Wilson School professor Stan Katz said that the mood around his office was bleak on Thursday after several staff members in his department had been notified of their termination.
“It felt very much as though there had been a death in the community. People were visibly upset,” Katz said.
Though he has only spoken to a few staff members since the decision was announced, Katz said he sensed “a feeling that this was harsh and felt sudden to people.”
An earlier version of this article inaccurately stated that the University employs 2,200 faculty members. In fact, there are 1,000 faculty members.