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Dartmouth College cuts jobs through layoffs, early retirement

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/7/2020 10:01:54 PM
Modified: 10/8/2020 11:22:56 AM

HANOVER — Dartmouth College has cut about three dozen jobs, mainly through early retirement, in its core Campus Services division as the school works to close a projected $83 million shortfall in its budget.

Dartmouth this summer had offered an early retirement package to eligible workers, and 26 employees within the division have accepted, according to an email to college employees sent Wednesday by Josh Keniston, the vice president of campus services and institutional projects.

Another 15 workers were laid off, were furloughed or had hours cut “as part of our expense reduction and reorganization process,” Keniston wrote.

That number included seven staffers notified last week that the college has previously acknowledged publicly.

Many of the jobs vacated by an early retirement will remain unfilled, Keniston said, and the layoffs took place “where longer-term budget impacts were expected, or there was a need to better align our operations.”

The Campus Services division includes a wide variety of offices at Dartmouth, including information technology services; the Dartmouth Skiway; some finance and communications functions; dining halls; and the operation, maintenance and cleaning of Dartmouth dorms and other buildings.

Keniston’s email said he had consolidated some functions, such as merging campus planning and renovation programs into a new office and managing IT workers under a streamlined “technology services” office.

Top Dartmouth officials have said some layoffs will take place at various divisions within the college to meet budget targets given the shortfall in the $1.12 billion budget, but that they will not be widespread.

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth last month, for instance, laid off 18 workers effective the end of October.

Dartmouth has allowed only about half of its 4,400 undergraduates back on campus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that has led to a drop in room and board and other revenue.

Keniston’s email said the job reductions announced Wednesday may be all that is needed in his division, for now.

“Assuming we continue to welcome students to campus in the upcoming terms, we do not anticipate a need to take further action for the foreseeable future,” he wrote.

SEIU Local 560 President Chris Peck, who represents more than 500 custodial, food preparation and other service-job workers on the Dartmouth campus, said some union members took the early retirement package, but that the college has already been advertising for their replacements, including a troubleshooter and power plant operator.

“Several union jobs are posted right now,” he said. “They need them here.”

Meanwhile, Dartmouth’s COVID-19 dashboard indicates that there are now five active COVID-19 cases on campus, two students and three staff or faculty.

In total, four students and nine employees are in isolation, and five students and one employee are in quarantine as a precaution.

Peck said one of the three active employee cases involved a Local 560 member who has been out for about a week, but he declined to identify their job.

Peck, who himself is a master painter who takes a test for the coronavirus every Tuesday morning, said the union member had been out of state and he was “pretty sure they didn’t contract it here.”

Dartmouth spokeswoman Diana Lawrence said she also could not provide details about the employees’ jobs because of personnel policies “but I can tell you that contact investigations of the staff members with active cases of COVID-19 have not identified any student contacts. All contacts are in the process of being notified by the state health department and those who have been notified are quarantining.”

News staff writer John P. Gregg can be reached at 603- 727-3217 or jgregg@ vnews.com.

Clarification

This  story has been updated to reflect that the Campus Services finance and communications functions are separate from Dartmouth’s Office of Communications and its Finance and Administration division.




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