Claremont McKenna to furlough up to 130 staff members if students do not return in spring

The update comes after an initial Tuesday announcement from Claremont McKenna College President Hiram Chodosh. (Regan Rudman • The Student Life)

Claremont McKenna College will furlough up to 130 staff members if students are unable to return to campus in the spring semester, President Hiram Chodosh announced in an email to students, faculty and staff Wednesday.

On Tuesday, 130 employees received an email from the college that said if their workloads are reduced or eliminated in the case that students do not return to campus in the spring, they will be furloughed, Chodosh said.

If students do not return, departments that provide on-campus services to students will be affected, according to the CMC Returns website. Some employees in the following departments would be furloughed: 

  • Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation
  • Center for Global Education
  • Collins Dining Hall
  • Facilities and Campus Services
  • International Place
  • Kravis Leadership Institute
  • Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum
  • Office of College Events

Chodosh reiterated that the furloughs are conditional and said CMC is “fully committed” to reopening campus for the spring semester. He clarified that the decision on whether students return to campus will come on Dec. 9.

The mandatory furloughs would be both partial — in which employees’ hours would be reduced by 25-50 percent — or full-time, all beginning on Dec. 20. The college expects furloughs to last through June 30, 2021, under the assumption that students return to campus in fall 2021, Chodosh said.

Furloughed employees would continue to receive medical, dental, vision, employee assistance, mental health counseling and tuition remission benefits from the college. CMC would cover the employee contribution fee of the benefits until July 1, according to the website. 

If the college furloughs employees, CMC has committed to raise funding for those employees to “reduce or eliminate the financial impacts on furloughed staff,” Chodosh said via email. Harvey Mudd College and Pomona College have announced similar funds to raise money for furloughed staff.

These furloughs would be the first the college has implemented in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the website, CMC has “continued the full pay of employees” for over seven months.

CMC has kept staff fully employed by taking steps to mitigate financial consequences such as reducing operational budgets, executive salaries and retirement benefits. The college has also drawn on the “strong financial resources of the college to cover additional, significant funding gaps,” according to previous TSL coverage.

Pitzer College is the only other 5C that has not implemented mandatory furloughs, though some staff have taken voluntary furloughs.

Pomona College, Scripps College and Harvey Mudd College each implemented mandatory full-time and partial furloughs over the fall semester.

Siena Swift contributing reporting

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