October 22, 2020

Budget restrictions lead to staff reductions

In early August, word spread that 69 positions were eliminated from the university’s staff roster, but what’s the truth behind this?

Throughout May and June of this past year, the members of the Expanded Faculty Budget and Planning Committee began to review the budget impacts due to COVID-19. In this process, the Board of Trustees approved a balanced FY 21 budget, which helped the university determine how to evenly spread the projected 2020-2021 school year budget. 

At the time, it was projected that 9.6 million dollars in the university’s revenue was going to be lost due to COVID-19. The Position and Structure Review Committee (PSRC) started to assess the staff roster.

David L. Kaufman. Photo Courtesy of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

After reviewing which positions were needed in order for the University to reopen this Fall, 69 positions were redacted. These positions included open frozen positions, budgeted vacancies, 19 employees that opted for the Voluntary Separation Plan (VSP) and 12 that did not.

Interim President Dave Kaufman stated in an email that, “The final voluntary count participating in the VSP was 19. The 12 [non-voluntary] that were impacted by the PSRC re-structuring received similar benefits and support.”

Here is a list of the departments that lost the 12 employees that did not opt for the Voluntary Separation Plan:

Advancement (1) 

Human Resources (1) 

Information Technology (1) 

Law School Administration (1) 

Libraries (2) 

Student Learning and Development (4) 

Strategic Enrollment Management (2)

Due to privacy and legal reasons, the university could not disclose the identities of these individuals.

“It is never easy to make a decision that affects the jobs of valued, dedicated employees, but these steps were necessary to move forward in the face of COVID-19 challenges and to ensure the long-term success of Capital University and the continuation of excellent educational experiences for all our students,” said Kaufman. “As a result, we begin the fall semester 2020 today with a balanced budget.”

At this time, no other job cuts are planned, but restructuring will continue throughout the fall semester if the university finds that certain positions are no longer necessary at the time.

Other parts of campus were impacted as well. With such massive budget hits, certain departments have experienced a loss of funding.

Matthew Cook, head librarian at Blackmore Library, discussed the capabilities and limitations that library services face.

“I came into it with a couple of primary objectives, the first objective was to make sure that in a remote environment we were still able to support all of you,” Cook said. “So, that means, we were able to keep all of our electronic resources. So that was one area of the budget that wasn’t affected, but the print book budget was definitely affected in a fairly major way.” 

Since the start of preparing for how the pandemic would affect campus financially, administration has had to be not only creative, but realistic in what the student body needs in order to be successful this school year. 

Jean-Paul Spagnolo, Vice President of Strategic Enrollment Management, Planning and Advancement gives her insight on the preparation.

She says, “We’ve had to be creative, like everyone else. You know, so we’re making sure that we are aligning our resources in an intentional way to best meet our goals, still with these challenges.” 

Although these vacancies seem extreme,  Spagnolo believes that students are the University’s number one priority. Capital in their decision-making is constantly thinking of ways to help the students through this obstacle. 

“We’re really trying to think about ways where they [students] can have an engaging opportunity that really solidifies their education,” said Spagnolo.

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