Canisius College is trying to close a multi-million dollar budget gap for the 2021 academic yea, but looking at a number of measures including lay-offs.
The college made $12.3 million dollars in cuts to their 2021 fiscal year budget. Those cuts include cutting 71 positions — including college professors, staff, faculty, administrative and support positions.
“We’ve always changed and adapted to the times, that’s been the hallmark of jesuit higher education and so now we’ve got a brand new crisis on our hands, we’ve got to change and adapt,” said John J. Hurley college president.
He says Canisius took a big hit from the Covid-19 pandemic in the areas of enrollment, refunds and now added safety expenses.
“We’ve got a lot of extra expense involved in reopening the campus. And we’re spending that money right now on sanitizing stations, signage plexiglass,” said Hurley. “We lost, for example, we refunded students $2 million last year for unused room and board when we closed the campus in arch. That was $2 million we didn’t have, but it was the right thing to do. We gave it back to the students.”
Advocates for the professors hope the college administration reconsiders their decision.
“We’re losing some of our best scholars and some of our award winning teachers, in fact the person who’s being laid off in English had just won the best teacher of the year award last year and she’s being laid off,” said Dr. T. Loughead, president American Association of University Professors.
Several students have teamed-up to help stop the layoffs they started an online petition.
“I automatically felt disheartened and it just sat so wrong with me, that I felt that I needed to say something, because I didn’t see other people saying much,” said student Charlotte Kacprowicz.
Hurley says he hopes colleges are included in the next stimulus package.
Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.