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Pandemic spurs more layoffs at Dartmouth College

  • Usually bustling with students, the Dartmouth College campus is mostly empty on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Hanover, N.H.(Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/1/2020 8:56:33 PM
Modified: 10/8/2020 11:21:22 AM

HANOVER — Dartmouth College this week laid off or cut the hours of seven staff workers, part of job reductions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about a possible structural deficit in fiscal year 2022 and beyond.

“A small number of employees in the Campus Services division, 7 in total, are being notified of a layoff, furlough, or reduction in hours this week,” Dartmouth spokeswoman Diana Lawrence said on Thursday. “Employees are being individually notified this week to allow them privacy to process the information, and more details about the changes in Campus Services will be shared next week. No additional changes are planned at this time.”

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

Lawrence said there are 565 employees, including unionized workers, in the division, and that the job cuts will take effect at the end of the month. The workers who are losing their jobs are being offered outplacement services and severance payments in accordance with Dartmouth’s layoff policy, she said.

SEIU Local 560 President Chris Peck, who represents custodial, food preparation and other service-job workers on the Dartmouth campus, said mid-day on Thursday that he had not heard of any cuts to union jobs, in part because “we are the ones that are here, taking care of the students.”

He also said the Local 560 contract precludes laying off a union worker, such as a painter, and then replacing them with an outside contractor.

The job cuts this week follow a move by the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth in mid-September to lay off 18 staffers after the graduate school ended fiscal year 2020 with a $3.3 million deficit due to the pandemic.

Overall, Dartmouth, which has an annual operating budget of about $1.12 billion, has said it is dealing with a projected $83 million shortfall for FY 2021. 

In a phone interview last week after the college announced that its endowment had generated a return of 7.6% for FY 2020 and risen to a record $5.98 billion, Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon said layoffs will not be widespread but some “adjustments” will be needed in various divisions to meet both the shortfall and to prepare for future investments in green energy on campus, upgrading aging residence halls and overhauling information technology infrastructure.

While a “general” hiring freeze remains in place, Dartmouth is also advertising for some job openings, ranging from a $20.25 department coordinator to a $17.09 dishwashing job covered by the union contract.

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

  Clarificatio n

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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