Marquette eliminates 39 positions due to financial shortfalls

Lovell+announced+the+cuts+to+staff+in+an+email+sent+to+the+Marquette+community+Jan.+22.%0A%0AMarquette+Wire+stock+photo

Lovell announced the cuts to staff in an email sent to the Marquette community Jan. 22. Marquette Wire stock photo

Marquette University President Michael Lovell announced the elimination of 39 positions at the university due to short-and long-term financial challenges Thursday, Jan. 21.

“These difficult decisions were made with great care and discernment, and I thank each of our colleagues affected by this news for the contributions they’ve made to Marquette,” Lovell said in an email.

Lovell explained that the university has taken steps such as reducing discretionary spending to offset lost revenues and address unanticipated costs.

Those being laid off have been offered a severance package, with pay and health care subsidies and outplacement services.

Lovell said the actions taken by the university do not involve tenured or non tenure-track faculty.

He also announced the integration of the offices of Economic Engagement, Marketing and Communication and Public Affairs, all of which will combine to create the new Office of University Relations led by General Counsel Paul Jones. This led to the elimination of three vice president positions.

“This past year has been one of the most difficult in Marquette’s history, and today’s news impacts our entire campus community,” Lovell said in the email. “We face the future with optimism, knowing Marquette is poised for success.”

Our Marquette released a statement Jan. 21 condemning the cuts, calling for the university to re-evaluate its choices.

The Marquette Academic Workers Union maintains its stance: No one gets fired.

“I am shocked, disappointed, just dismayed at the prospect of firing a dedicated and integral staff during a pandemic and an economic recession,” Grant Gosizk, a visiting assistant professor of English, said. “I think the senior leadership at Marquette administration has a lot of questions to answer from the remaining staff and faculty at the university.”

Gosizk said administration owes its faculty and staff more “coherent answers” regarding the budget and the decision to eliminate positions.

“I think these reaffirm anxieties that I think both staff and faculty share about being overworked (and) underappreciated at the university,” Gosizk said.

Gosizk mentioned the $12 million surplus planned for in the 2022 fiscal year budget. He said it is at the expense of those 39 staff members laid off.

He also pointed to the $9 million in federal aid the university received.

“Much of that money has been approved for payroll purpose precisely, I imagine with the federal intent to retain employees during this unprecedented time,” Gosizk said.

Gosizk said he is “operating tentatively” at Marquette, feeling that there is a larger cut on the way. Lovell did not mention the future for non tenure-track positions at the university.

“I think that’s a sentiment that a lot of entities share,” Gosizk said.

He said the 39 staff members should be reinstated.

“In order to demonstrate and preserve shared governance at this university, faculty deserve a stronger role in budgetary decisions that quintessentially affect the way that they operate in the classroom and the quality of education students receive,” Gosizk said. “I also think that students deserve a stronger role in budgetary processes … I think we’d be seeing a very different budget, if those two groups were given a more concerted seat at the proverbial table.”

Alum Brooke McArdle, who has been a student advocate for ensuring MAWU’s goal, expressed her frustration at the news of the position eliminations.

“The elimination of 39 faculty and staff positions is greatly disheartening, but unsurprising. Marquette’s administration has shown that they are committed to the degradation of Jesuit values, notably the ones they tout most often, ‘cura personalis,'” McArdle said. “In such an uncertain time, the university should be allowing its values to guide its actions; however, the administration has proven that pride and price drives its decision-making.”

This story was written by Alexa Jurado. She can be reached at alexa.jurado@marquette.edu.