Correction: The Office of the President did not specify that faculty members will be laid off specifically.
This story was updated on Oct. 4 at 8:00 p.m. Keep checking back for more.
In an email sent to University faculty and staff, President Eugene Cornacchia announced that due to the “substantial” economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, 13 "individuals" will be laid off and there will be 12 new and/or continued furloughs.
“We deeply appreciate and respect the efforts and contributions of these colleagues who have served Saint Peter’s University,” said President Cornacchia. “I regret the need for these actions because we value all members of the community.”
According to the announcement, this comes as a result of a 15% overall decrease in revenue due to the lack of resident applications for the semester, a “costly, but necessary” tuition freeze and other reasons that are presently unspecified. The approximate projected deficit of this loss in revenue is $6 million.
Along with the new layoffs and furloughs, the Office of the President also announced a new reduction in salaries on top of the reduction announced in March.
Members of the Cabinet will not see an increased reduction and will “continue with their existing 10% reduction”.
Full-time staff, administrators and faculty will face the following deductions:
More than or equal to $75K = 5%
$50K - $74,999K = 3.5%
Less than $50K = 1%
The announcement also specifies a 10% reduction in the University’s operating budget for the fiscal year of 2021.
“Now, more than ever, we must support one another and continue to work hard to serve our students,” said President Cornacchia. “I know that together, we will get through this. Let us remember that every decision we make is in line with our mission and our top priority must always be to effectively serve our cherished students.”
Christine Boyle, Director of Campus Ministry, is amongst those who have been laid-off.
On September 30, Boyle gave the opening prayer at Michaelmas. Only two days later, Nanci Wynman, a senior at SPU, created a petition in an attempt to have her rehired.
“Christine Boyle was an integral and beloved member of the community with whom we are not yet ready, or willing, to let go of,” the petition read. “[She] was more than just the Campus Ministry Director. She was a friend, a shoulder to lean on, a mentor.”
Since, the petition has accumulated around 150 signatures.
Many students have taken heed to the petition, and have begun sharing it around social media in an attempt to bring Boyle back.
Wynman expressed in the petition that Saint Peter’s cannot call itself a Jesuit school without a functioning Campus Ministry, and with Boyle gone, this leaves less than four staff members in Campus Ministry.
“As students, we relied on the Campus Ministry, and Christine Boyle, for spiritual and emotional support, especially during these challenging times,” she wrote.
The Pauw Wow reached out to the Office of the President for further comment on Boyle’s firing and the petition, but was denied that request.
Cornacchia will be holding an open forum meeting for employees to further discuss the University’s plans on October 5.