By Kate Selig
Stanford will permanently lay off 208 workers and furlough 30 more in light of the University’s “serious budgetary challenges,” wrote Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne in a Wednesday email to the campus community.
The University has further eliminated “approximately 450 open positions” and reduced an unspecified number of full-time positions to part time. If the COVID-19 pandemic worsens and students are unable to return to campus, further staff reductions could ensue, according to the email.
COVID-19 has created uncertainty surrounding Stanford’s budget. University units were asked in April to “prepare for perhaps the worst” by developing budget plans that would account for a 15% reduction in endowment payout and a 10% reduction in general funds. The Board of Trustees approved a budget plan in June that would result in a 7% decrease in endowment payout and general fund payments across the University.
Employees who are temporarily laid off will continue to have medical benefits. Employees who were permanently laid off will be eligible for “career transition services, severance pay and continued medical benefits,” according to the email.
Prior layoffs have prompted student action: Students for Workers’s Rights has raised $30,000 to provide $500 grants to laid off Row and Suites workers. The pay continuity Stanford guaranteed workers that began in the spring will end on Aug. 31.
“The loss of talented and committed members of our Stanford community is a big blow, certainly for each of these individuals, but also for our community as a whole,” wrote Tessier-Lavigne.
Additionally, while the workforce reductions combined with other budgetary decisions would allow the University to enter the fiscal year on “sound financial footing,” uncertainties remain, especially with regards to COVID-19.
Tessier-Lavigne added that if the COVID-19 pandemic worsened and prevented students from returning to campus, it could result in “further significant impacts on our operations and revenue streams,” potentially prompting further cuts.
“At this time we cannot exclude the possibility of further layoffs, temporary or permanent, at some future date, although we earnestly hope they will not be necessary,” Tessier-Lavigne wrote.