NU announces 87 staff layoffs, lowered F.Y. 2021 budget in financial update


Daily file photo by Catherine Buchaniec

Rebecca Crown Center, which includes the office of the VP for Business and Finance. University administrators emphasized the Community Safety Advisory Board as a “clean slate.”

James Pollard, Summer Managing Editor

Northwestern has laid off 87 staff members across schools and units, according to a Wednesday email from University President Morton Schapiro.

Of these staff members, about one third were previously furloughed in June, Schapiro said in the email.

The layoffs are not “exclusively” the result of too few people taking a recent “staff voluntary separation plan,” Schapiro emphasized, with 187 staff — roughly the number forecasted, according to the email— taking that option. The University had previously planned to cut 150 to 200 through the buyout program.

Each person laid off will receive continued medical insurance, help transitioning to new roles and severance payments based on their length of service.

“Unfortunately, we cannot be certain whether future actions might become necessary,” Schapiro said in the email. “Much will depend on the pandemic’s trajectory and whether revenues stabilize or continue to decline.”

The University’s revenue shortfall for the current fiscal year remains at about $90 million, Schapiro added. But with less in-person activity than usual this fall, the University expects lower revenues. The University also expects increased expenses due to coronavirus-related health and safety measures.

As a result, school and unit budgets for the upcoming fiscal year have been lowered. Still, Schapiro said the budgets include funding “to meet increased demands for financial aid” and support for the University’s “research and teaching enterprise.”

Northwestern University Graduate Workers criticized the move on Twitter, saying that “staff reductions” are not necessary, and are political decisions reflective of the University’s values.