By Tracy Jan, Globe Staff
Harvard University announced this morning that it plans to lay off 275 staff members as the college grapples with budget pressures caused by a precipitous endowment decline.
Harvard University President Drew Faust
In a letter to the Harvard community this morning, President Drew Faust said the reductions at most of Harvardís 10 schools will begin this week. Staff cuts at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the universityís largest school, the medical school, and the central administration will start next Monday.
"Such decisions, in their human dimensions, are among the hardest that an institution like ours can make," Faust wrote. "But difficult circumstances have called for difficult decisions across the university."
Facing a projected 30 percent drop in the value of its endowment, Harvard had already made the decision to withhold raises for about 9,000 faculty and non-union staff members for the next school year. And it has offered a voluntary early retirement program to about 1,600 staff members that ultimately shed more than 500 employees. But the savings were not enough, Faust said.
In addition to the impending layoffs, about 40 more staff members will be offered positions with reduced work hours, said an accompanying letter by Marilyn Hausammann, Harvardís vice president for human resources.
"Over the past six months, managers across the university have scrubbed their budgets for non-personnel savings, canceled or curtailed travel, and limited other discretionary spending," Hausammann wrote. "We have slowed development in Allston, strictly limited hiring, and reduced our reliance on outside contractors. Ö Unfortunately, further cuts are needed in order for Harvard to adjust to the institutionís new economic reality."
About half of the positions to be eliminated are administrative or professional positions, Hausammann said, and nearly all of the rest are clerical or technical jobs. Service and trade workers will be largely unaffected, she said.
Harvard, the second-largest employer in Greater Boston, has more than 18,000 employees including post-doctoral fellows, teaching assistants, and interns, university officials said. About 16,000 staff and faculty make up the universityís core workforce.
Employees who are laid off will receive 60 days of pay, a lump-sum severance of one to two weeks of pay for each year of service, enhanced severance benefits that include an additional four weeks of pay, and the ability to continue medical and dental benefits for 18 months, with a full year at subsidized rates, Hausammann said.
Harvard will also institute a 30-day external hiring freeze for staff jobs to try to match employees who are laid off with current openings.
"It is important to note that all of the steps that we have taken to reduce spending over the past six months have been taken with the aim of sustaining the academic and organizational capabilities Harvard will need for the future, while minimizing the impact on our workforce," Hausammann wrote.
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