Our issue is that there was a major lack of transparency to the student body regarding this change, which led to cuts in important administrative services such as ACE and the library without any student input.
The official source of our grievances is within the following email sent to the student body by Kent Devereux on November 12, 2019, at 5 PM:
Dear Goucher students,
I wanted to let you all know about some extensive changes we communicated today to the administrative services employees who work at Goucher.
As many of you know, we launched an Administrative Services Review back in July. I’ve been working closely with the Goucher Student Government to keep them informed about this process. This project has now concluded, and I wanted to share the outcomes of this initiative with the full community.
As you may recall, this project involved a comprehensive review of all non-faculty employee positions across the College. The review benefited from the input and analysis of our external consultants, the rpk Group, who conducted interviews with numerous Goucher employees, supplied benchmark data to us that we used to compare ourselves against peer colleges and universities, and ultimately helped to inform our final decisions.
One thing was clear: we could not continue to operate as we have in the past. In recent years, the College has operated at a deficit. That had to stop. Otherwise, in the long-term it would threaten the viability of the College and in the short-term it prevents us from investing in new academic programs or services. Like our peer institutions we had to find ways to become more efficient, to deliver the same or better quality of service to our students but at a lower cost; moreover, that Goucher needed to seize the day and be innovative to survive and thrive into the future.
Consequently, these past few months have not been easy for our employees — not knowing what this analysis might reveal and what decisions might be made. I have appreciated their patience as we took the time to complete this complex work.
As anticipated, at the conclusion of our review we made the difficult, but necessary decisions to eliminate or restructure some positions and reorganize several departments to better align the college’s staff to fulfill its mission. Unfortunately, we also had to eliminate the positions of a select number of employees. At this point, all affected employees have been informed of their status. Any employee whose position was eliminated has been offered a severance package based upon their years of service to the College and also assistance through our employee assistance program.
Let me also stress, that this review concerned only administrative support staff. No faculty positions were eliminated. We have also been very careful to put transition plans in place so no student services will be disrupted.
Furthermore, we have no plans for any additional position eliminations. In fact, eight new staff positions were created as a result of this review, and several other positions that were put “on hold” back in April of this year will now proceed to be filled including a new College Librarian, a Director of Global Education, and other vitally important positions. Position descriptions for some of these positions are already posted on Goucher’s website; others will follow in the next few weeks.
I will be working with the Goucher Student Government to convene several meetings with students this semester to answer any questions and address any concerns you might have about these changes. Please look forward to future communications with information on the time and place for these meetings. I would hope you will attend one of these sessions.
I am confident that by taking the time to conduct this extensive analysis and make these difficult decisions we have not only ensured for Goucher’s continued sustainability but have positioned the College well to become an academically stronger, more responsive, and more fiscally sound institution into the future.
Kent Devereaux, President