Archive for Thursday, July 2, 2009

Baker layoffs draw clarification

July 2, 2009

All seven Baker University staff members who were laid off in June worked on the Baldwin City campus, but four of them had university-wide positions, Baker spokesman Steve Rottinghaus clarified.

“They all had offices or worked here, but four of them served more than one school at the university and were, thus, university-wide,” said Rottinghaus.

He explained that many of the departments located at the Baldwin City campus serve the entire community, such as fundraising and other similar efforts. That can cause confusion, he said.

Baker also has campuses in Overland Park, Topeka and Wichita and many people from the Baldwin City campus do work for those campuses. They, too, are considered university-wide employees.

In the original round of layoffs in February, Baker let 23 people go, including eight from the Baldwin City campus. The others were university wide. The additional seven laid off brings the total to 30, which is hoped to be the end of the layoffs, officials say.

“At this time, there are no more layoffs planned,” Rottinghaus said last week as a part of the announcement of the seven additional layoffs.

He also said the university has around 430 employees university-wide, although an exact number can’t be given because some open positions are not being filled. He also said that some employees have had hours and responsibilities reduced, but couldn’t provide details.

The layoffs, spending reductions and other belt-tightening measures are the result of a budget shortfall discovered last year of at least $1 million. The university was especially hit hard when Sprint laid off thousands of workers, many of whom were attending Baker’s graduate degree programs in Overland Park. When those jobs were lost, the educational benefits went away, too.

Baker officials plan to update students and others on the financial situation when classes resume in August.

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