Saint Joseph’s College has completed a comprehensive review of its operating and personnel budgets and has identified $1 million in reductions that will take effect immediately, President E. Joseph Lee announced this week. The cuts included the elimination of 14 positions, he said.

These reductions constitute approximately 3 percent of the 2008-2009 operating budget and are exclusive of college funds dedicated to financial aid to students, which are not, and will not be affected, Lee said.

The eliminated personnel were in the athletic, business, facilities and technology departments. The cuts did not include any faculty positions, Lee said.

Saint Joseph’s College joins a long list of businesses, governments, colleges and universities across the nation, large and small, which have revised their budgets and curtailed expenditures this year in the face of severe declines in the credit and stock markets, Lee said in his announcement.

“As a Mercy College committed to a set of core values that guide our operation, reductions that displace even one faithful employee are especially painful to make,” Lee said. “For that reason, I have worked with senior staff over an eight week period to examine each of the college’s programs and the budgets that support them. Our focus was on operational, non-personnel areas, and we were hopeful that we could avoid lay-offs and personnel reductions. Even though we identified more than $500,000 savings in the non-personnel areas, that was not sufficient to meet the challenges we face. We had to find another $500,000, and personnel reduction was our only remaining option.”

Dr. Lee added. “The economic forecasts indicate a long and steep climb before we return to a favorable economic climate, so we must prepare for an extended period of financial stress, when student enrollment and gift receipts may not reach the levels seen in recent years. Prudence requires preparation for that very real possibility.”

In addition to these budget reductions, St. Joseph’s College is in the initial stages of a strategic planning process intended to shape its future in order to meet the needs of students in the years ahead, to become a “greener” campus, to enhance the revenue stream, and to organize faculty, administration and physical facilities in ways to maximize effectiveness and efficiency.

In short, Lee said, the college will to the greatest extent possible be good stewards of its resources in the service of its students and fulfillment of its mission. It is in that larger context that these budget reductions have been made.

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