Division of Student Affairs lays off 19 employees

70 positions eliminated; university faces $500,000 in permanent reductions

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen reporter

WSU’s Division of Student Affairs will eliminate more than 70 positions to satisfy budget cuts outlined by WSU President Kirk Schulz, which university officials discussed in an all-staff division meeting Thursday. 

Of the 70 positions, 19 are currently occupied by WSU employees, according to an email from Mary Jo Gonzales, vice president of student affairs. 

The division is facing $500,000 in permanent reductions from the permanent budget line, which is about 10 percent of the division’s budget, Gonzales said. Permanent budget line funding is the money the division receives from the state.

“The budget situation in the division is severe,” she said.

Housing and Dining would normally make $40 million in revenue during a semester, said Sean Greene, interim associate vice president of facilities and operations. This semester, its revenue is about $7 million.

The Housing and Dining budget receives about $1 million for every 100 students living on campus, Greene said. The budget is down by $50 million because about 5,000 fewer students are living on campus this year.

Gonzales said most employees impacted by the layoffs were notified before the email announcing the cuts and meeting was sent out, but the division was not able to notify all of them. 

“We intended to notify everybody … before that email went out,” Gonzales said. “I know it caused unnecessary stress, but I also know it was more important to me to speak with integrity at that moment and say where we were at.”

Survivor’s guilt is natural following lay-offs and it is important to reach out for help when needed, said Ellen Taylor, associate vice president of student engagement. 

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct a factual inaccuracy. The original version stated employees impacted by the layoffs were notified by email, which is incorrect. This story was originally published Nov. 20 and was temporarily removed to look into concerns raised by WSU faculty. Student Affairs representatives have not responded to reporter’s efforts for clarification. The Daily Evergreen will continue to update this story as new information arises.