Officials have laid off multiple School of Medicine and Health Sciences administrative employees and GW’s sole pre-law adviser in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, employees with knowledge of the reductions said.
The SMHS layoffs affected multiple administrative positions in the school’s academic departments and began at least one month ago, said three employees with knowledge of the eliminations, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution from GW. University President Thomas LeBlanc said at a Faculty Senate meeting earlier this month that at that time last month, officials had laid off about 250 employees who had an average salary of roughly $75,000.
One employee told The Hatchet that officials laid off employees, including a department manager, an administrative manager and an academic department administrator, in the medical school.
The employees did not know how many SMHS administrative positions were eliminated in total.
Deborah Baker, CCAS’ senior adviser for pre-law, said in an email to student law organizations on Aug. 27 that it would be her final day at GW and her position was eliminated.
“I don’t have to tell you how I feel about each of you that I’ve known for some time, and how eager I was to get to know those of you I’ve only met recently, but do know that it was my pleasure to work with you all,” Baker wrote in the email, which was obtained by The Hatchet.
University spokesperson Crystal Nosal declined to confirm the layoffs in SMHS, saying departments are currently being restructured.
“Reviews and restructuring of administrative unit functions and staffing are underway, and the goal is for each vice president and dean to determine the scale and scope that is appropriate for their administrative unit,” Nosal said in an email. “These efforts include very difficult decisions about position eliminations and layoffs that have become more urgent given the financial implications of our fall scenario.”
Officials said at the September senate meeting that the layoffs would be completed near the end of the month. Officials are expected to make final decisions for a second phase of cuts to close GW’s projected $180 million budget gap in the coming days, which could include a faculty pay reduction.
Hundreds of students and employees have signed onto various petitions condemning recent layoffs.
Provost Brian Blake said at the senate meeting that as part of the restructurings, officials increased the ratio of students per academic adviser from 193 to one to 220 to one, which he said is still below the national average. He said there was “some elimination” of academic adviser positions, which is the first public statement from an official confirming layoffs in a specific department.
“I needed to be able to go and make sure these units are as efficient as they can be,” Blake said. “We had five weeks of conversations, we were actually looking at national norms and any anecdotal challenges.”
Blake also confirmed there were some positions eliminated in the Center for Career Services. Officials have also laid off at least dozens of staff across the University’s technology offices as well as at least 60 employees within the facilities division and an internal consulting office.