AUSTIN, Texas - St. Edwards University announced they’re making major budget cuts in the 2021 fiscal school year.
The university released a statement Wednesday afternoon listing its “Proactive Plans for Fiscal Year 2021 Balanced Budget”. They say these restructuring efforts strengthen the university’s ability to absorb changes related to COVID-19.
“I wanted to choose a smaller school where I could build relationships with my teachers," said Kerry McGullicuddy, who was born and raised in Austin. She says choosing St. Edwards University to further her education after high school was a no brainer. "Somewhere that felt like home.”
The rising senior majoring in English and minoring in education says she rarely gets on social media, but after dozens of texts and calls, she logged on Twitter and saw this.
“They made an announcement saying the school of education and human development was no more," McGullicuddy said. "When you see that and haven’t heard directly from the school and it was devastating I didn’t understand to what extent if my department was gone.”
She says Tuesday morning the university president emailed students, letting them know about possible cuts that would be made, including a voluntary cut to his and the vice president’s salary. Tuesday night is when she saw the tweet from the dean of human development and education.
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On Wednesday afternoon the University released a statement, saying they’re consolidating five programs into four, discontinuing some programs, cutting 10 percent of employee positions, reducing housing occupancy to continue social distancing and a health services partnership with Baylor Scott and White.
The exact number of faculty and staff laid off wasn’t specified.
“I immediately reached out to the professors within my department who I’m close with and asked if they still had their jobs and after learning all the professors I reached out to had lost their jobs, it was devastating and heartbreaking because they’re some of the most influential professors I’ve had during my St. Edwards career and I think they deserve so much more than what happened," McGullicuddy said.
McGullicuddy says for her, this cuts deep. Last year she was studying abroad when she found out her father passed away. Her teachers stepped in to make her feel comforted.
“I understand why the university had to cut our professors jobs but I just don’t think that anybody was really expecting it to be to this extent and I think until you actually lose a professor who you love and has really impacted your life people don’t understand what that feels like," she said. "You’re losing an advocate, a mentor, a community member, someone who really pushes you to follow your dreams pursue your passions.”
McGullicuddy says in the past, communication with the University has been rocky, and that the most stressful part about it is the uncertainty moving forward.
The University says faculty and staff members were notified of position eliminations and final restructuring plans on Tues. May 12.
On Wednesday, students were invited to a student forum to be held next week where they’ll have the opportunity to ask specific questions about changes that may affect their academic experience.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT FROM THE UNIVERSITY BELOW:
Dear Hilltopper Community,
While the Spring semester has officially come to an end, we want to make sure you continue be informed about important resources available to you, especially emergency assistance options for students who may be experiencing financial hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic.
St. Edward’s University will continue supporting students by providing economic relief through various funding sources (institution, federal and state). These funds are intended to help students pay for technology, health care, childcare, course materials, rent, food, moving or other expenses incurred this semester. These funds are also earmarked to help with unanticipated expenses or income loss that may have occurred during the spring semester or may occur in the summer or fall.
We strongly encourage all students with financial concerns to submit a request for emergency assistance. The university is committed to quickly reviewing your application, and will make every effort to respond within a week regarding the status of your request. You will receive a notification via your St. Edward’s e-mail address.
For students who don’t qualify for federal assistance, there are other types of emergency aid from St. Edward's University available. View the Emergency Assistance and CARES Act FAQ for more information.
Dean of Students and Title IX Deputy Coordinator
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