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Judson lays off staff, ends faculty contracts to balance its budget

Updated: December 5, 2012 6:39AM

ELGIN — Judson University has laid off 21 staff members, ended the contracts of 11 faculty members and accepted the retirements of five tenured faculty, Interim President William Clark Crothers confirmed Friday.

That brings to 37 the total faculty and staff who will not return to the private evangelical university next school year, according to the interim president.

“We have had an adjustment, and — like lots of other colleges across the country and businesses — we needed to adjust our employment levels, and we’ve gone through that process,” Crothers said.

Those layoffs included 10 full-time and 11 part-time staff, and were effective Wednesday, Oct. 31, he said. Judson is planning severance packages for those staff that include a minimum four weeks of pay up to a maximum 12 weeks, one for each year of service at the university, he said.

The faculty whose contracts have ended will continue to work until next school year begins, he said. The interim president said the faculty handbook gave the university until March 15 to notify them it would not renew their contracts, but “that’s just too late.”

“We decided to do it now so they have lots of time to be early in the process this spring looking for a job,” Crothers said.

“We’re trying to make it an easy process for them.”

In fact, he said, Judson plans to bring in a consultant to run a seminar for affected employees about networking, updating resumés and finding a job. Afterward, that consultant will be available to them for one-on-one coaching, he said.

Those cuts were made by the Judson University Board of Trustees over the weekend of Oct. 27 as, Crothers said, “it’s financially necessary to make sure we balance our budget.”

“We perhaps added a few too many people, and we hadn’t been growing as fast as we’d been adding people.”

Judson has about 1,100 students and about 100 faculty members, according to its website. It also has about 200 staff members, the interim president has said.

And it has about a $185,000 deficit across all its funds and endowments, a total $44.7 million in assets, he said. The cuts made by the board “will definitely balance the budget next year. We’re very confident in that because of this right-sizing,” he said.

“It’s just a necessary step for the institution,” Crothers said. “But in terms of the future, it’s a great institution, and I think it’s got a great future. We’re just addressing some of the basic financial issues and tweaking it a bit and moving on.”

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