The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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St. John’s University offers buyout to veteran employees

In response to “economic challenges,” St. John’s University
joins a growing list of U.S. colleges
offering buyouts to faculty and staff as
a way to reduce expenses. The buyout
is being offered to all full-time staff
and administrators, as well as tenured

In an internal e-mail sent out Monday,
University President Rev. Donald J.
Harrington said previous efforts to
increase revenue and cut spending had
kept St. John’s with a balanced budget,
but further spending reductions will be
needed to keep it balanced.

“St. John’s is not alone… many other
institutions are reducing expenses as well
as eliminating jobs and freezing new
hires,” he stated. “We remain confident
that by taking prudent fiscal steps now,
St. John’s will be able to continue its core
mission and pursue its strategic initiatives
well into the future.”

In the letter, Rev. Harrington said the
use of “Voluntary Separation Offers,” or
VSOs, is the latest cost-cutting measure the
University is attempting after trying other
methods, including reducing department
budgets, putting certain projects on hold
and eliminating salary increases for most
University employees.

Rev. Harrington cites changes in
enrollment patterns, greater student
financial aid need, a drop in investment
income, and rising health care and energy
costs as some of the reasons for the need
to reduce expenses.

Dominic Scianna, assistant vice
president of Media Relations, said
yesterday that although all staff have
been informed via e-mail, all St. John’s
employees eligible for packages will
receive their individual offers by the
end of the week. Once they receive the
package, employees will have 45 days to
consider the offer, he said.

According to the St. John’s 2008 fact
book, there are 696 full-time faculty, 830
full-time administrators and 608 full-time
staff across all campuses.

The statistics also show that nearly 45
percent of full-time faculty employed as
of fall 2008 have been with the University
for 16 years or more.

Institutions nationwide have also
been offering voluntary buyouts. Last
February, Harvard offered 1,600 buyouts
to employees 55 years and older and
who have worked there for at least 10
years. The universities of South Florida,
Memphis, and Michigan, among others,
have also offered veteran employees
voluntary buyouts in order to save money
since 2008.

As of yesterday, the University
declined to comment on the specifics of
the VSOs, such as how many employees
will receive separation packages.

“We feel it is inappropriate to
discuss the Voluntary Separation Offers
at this time until all parties [faculty,
administrators and staff] have had a chance
to receive and review the information,”
said Scianna. The University last offered
VSOs to employees in 1998, he said.

In the letter, Rev. Harrington said
the University will continue to explore
additional cost-cutting methods in the
upcoming months.

“All elements of our university are
being reviewed to determine how best to
move forward,” he said. “Some initiatives
will receive additional support; others will
need to be pared back or eliminated.”

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  • S

    SandyOct 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Aprecpitaion for this information is over 9000—thank you!