Monday, February 8, 2010

Scene Seventeen: Layoffs II

Despite the efforts of SEIU Local 560 and Dartmouth Students Stand with Staff, despite the vigil on the Green, and despite the opposition of numerous other faculty and community members, President Kim released a letter to the Dartmouth community today that includes the following passage:

We have taken a number of measures to avoid layoffs, including offering voluntary retirement, reducing hours, eliminating unfilled positions and freezing salaries. To date, more than 105 non-teaching employees have accepted the College's retirement incentive, and we have reduced unfilled positions by 43. These actions come on top of 158 positions that were eliminated last year.

While these steps and the other actions noted in this letter have made a significant impact, they unfortunately did not fully eliminate the need for layoffs. We have had to make 38 layoffs now, and expect a comparable number in April. Approximately 60 percent of these layoffs involve professional and managerial employees. We are deeply grateful for the work of these employees, and for the contributions they have made to Dartmouth College.

Dinner time at Homeplate is usually lively, but even the students waiting in line for the evening's special caught the somber mood of the staff behind the counter. Of the faces I have come to know, which will I no longer see? The letter asserts that "approximately 60% of the layoffs involve professional and managerial employees," but I heard a laid-off staff member quip, "Managerial? I oversee a bunch of kids behind the sandwich counter!"

I love my school, but this was not the right move to make.

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