Officials have eliminated roughly 60 event staff across various University offices, according to employees in affected departments.
The dozens of affected staff, which include employees in Events & Venues as well as school-based event departments, were told about their positions being eliminated at the end of last month through a video call, four employees, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution from the University, told The Hatchet. The layoffs are part of cuts occurring across administrative offices as GW works to close in its $220 million annual budget gap.
University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal declined to answer all of The Hatchet’s questions about the layoffs, reiterating that officials are currently restructuring administrative units.
“These efforts include very difficult decisions about position eliminations and layoffs that have become more urgent given the financial implications of our fall scenario,” Nosal said in an email.
She said the current budget gap projections are more than double what officials anticipated in June, before officials decided to transition classes online for the fall semester.
“We continue to share that there are many unknowns about the pandemic, which can’t preclude the need for further action in the future,” Nosal said.
Nosal declined to confirm that administrators have laid off event staff as part of the restructuring.
Officials have also laid off at least dozens of staff across the University’s technology offices as well as at least 70 employees within the Center for Career Services, Facilities Planning, Construction and Management and the Continuous Improvement and Business Advisory Services office as part of the budget cuts.
Administrators previously announced a suspension on most hirings and capital projects, a freeze on merit salary increases and a suspension of the University’s matching and base retirement contributions. Top officials also accepted a temporary pay cut.
The event staff will now be consolidated into roughly nine positions, according to one employee whose job was eliminated.
The Division for Students Affairs is hiring two event schedulers, an event planner, a facilities position and a technical services position, while the University Events team will now employ two event schedulers, one director of events and one event manager, according to the employee.
The layoffs affected nearly all event divisions across GW, including staff who managed event spaces in Lisner Auditorium and the Marvin Center, including the Dorothy Betts Marvin Theater, the employees said.
One Events & Venues employee said he was asked to join a call, with a 20-minute notice, with Human Resources that informed him that his position would be eliminated. The employee said the call lasted 10 minutes and described the overall termination process as “cold” and “impersonal.”
The employee said they were not initially allowed to return to campus to clean out their desk, and officials said they would mail a box for them to return any University property located at their home.
Events & Venues canceled all department bookings scheduled for the fall semester as well as all student bookings for the entire academic year, according to the University website. External client reservations are not currently being accepted until further notice.
“Once a decision has been reached on when and how campus will open up again, student organizations will be contacted regarding the process to submit new event requests,” the website states.
This article appeared in the August 31, 2020 issue of the Hatchet.