An Ithaca College administrator announced at the Jan. 21 All-College Meeting that the initiative to cut 40 staff positions over the course of the 2015–16 academic school year will no longer include positions that are currently filled.
Nancy Pringle, senior vice president and general counsel for the Division of Human and Legal Resources, announced at the All-College Meeting in the fall that 40 position lines would be eliminated from the staffing table as part of the strategic workforce analysis. Since August, 20 positions — both vacant and filled — were cut.
Pringle said the remaining 20 position lines will be cut over the course of the next three to five years when and if they become open. Not all vacant positions will be cut.
Pringle said maintaining morale among staff was a factor in the initiative’s modification.
“I think it’s a recognition that staff were feeling afraid, concerned about their jobs,” Pringle said. “And when you have a staff of over a thousand and you’re really talking about a remainder of 20 position lines, it just didn’t feel to us that it was worth it to have people having that kind of anxiety.”
The strategic workforce analysis was introduced in the 2013–14 academic year. The initiative, which Pringle said was driven by a desire to make college more affordable for students, aimed to reorganize staffing positions in accordance with changes in job requirements and institutional efficiency. Since that initiative was put in place, over 60 positions were cut.
“We weren’t doing this because we had a budget crisis,” Pringle said. “We were doing it to … find additional resources to redeploy toward student financial aid.”
Pringle said the President’s Council made a decision in August 2015 to redeploy approximately $3 million in financial aid.
Last year, Pringle said the President’s Council tried to capture positions as vacancies occurred. The President’s Council completed an analysis of the areas of the campus to determine where reorganization could be beneficial to the college.
Staff members who were cut were invited to join the Severance Pay Plan, a plan established “to provide benefits to certain non-faculty, full-time employees whose employment ends as a direct result of Ithaca College’s elimination of a position,” according to the college’s website. The plan includes a temporary salary, medical insurance and limited tuition remission. The college’s website states the college can modify or terminate the program at any time.
Pringle said there was no connection between the modification of the initiative and President Tom Rochon’s Jan. 14 announcement that he will retire in July 2017.