Long says 23 people were laid off at Baker
Baker University President Pat Long announced 23 layoffs system-wide at the four campuses as the result of a $1 million shortfall in the budget. Those layoffs were made Thursday and Friday and should be the last, she said.
“We hope that we are done with layoffs with where we are now,” Long said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. “I’m sure we’re done with mass layoffs.”
She declined to say how many people were let go from the Baldwin City campus. Baker also has campuses in Overland Park, Topeka and Wichita.
“It was a fairly even distribution,” she said, adding that the specific numbers will be released later in the week.
Long said that the layoffs, which were a 5.2 percent reduction in the university’s faculty and staff of 439, did not involve any full-time faculty members. She also said it’s a reflection of the harsh economy nationwide.
“It’s impacting us, like everyone else,” said Long.
She pointed specifically to the reduction in students at Baker’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies in Overland Park after the recent layoffs of thousands of workers from Sprint.
“We had 103 students enrolled through Sprint,” said Long. “Those benefits go away. Not just Sprint, but other companies.”
She also said Baker’s endowment had gone down 27 percent because of losses in the stock market. That funds many scholarships to the university, but reductions there won’t be felt until next year. Fundraising efforts have also been hampered by the troubled economy, she said.
Long said the layoffs were the last resort and efforts to stem spending, such as reductions in travel and other expenses, started in November when it became apparent the university would not meet its budget.
“We did everything to protect people,” she said. “We saw people as the last thing we wanted to impact.”
She did not know if there had been layoffs at Baker before.
“You know, I don’t know with 150 years of history, I’d guess we have,” said Long. “I’ve heard stories, legends, of past layoffs.
“I don’t know of times nationally like we’re experiencing, so I don’t know if we’ve had layoffs in the past,” she said.
The Signal will update this story as more information becomes available.