Scripps partially furloughs 59 dining and custodial staff members

A photo of an ajar green door in a stucco cream wall covered in ivy. Above the door is an address: [1003].
Scripps College will furlough 59 staff members, citing budget constraints due to the closure of campus for fall. (Sarah Sundermeyer • The Student Life)
In response to decreased revenue and unanticipated costs due to the closure of its campus, Scripps College announced Aug. 21 that it would partially furlough 59 employees from dining and custodial departments, reducing those staffers’ hours down to 20 per week from Aug. 30 to Dec. 20.

Scripps was initially able to save $11 million through cuts and will save another $7.2 million through furloughs and other additional actions, according to an email sent to faculty and staff on Aug. 21 from Treasurer Dean Calvo and an email to TSL from Jennifer Berklas, Assistant Vice President of Human Capital & Risk Management. 

A Scripps spokesperson did not respond when asked specifically for the college’s current budget deficit.

“Out of concern for those immediately affected” by furloughs, Scripps will continue to provide health care benefits, tuition remission, sick leave accrual and vacation day accrual for affected staff. The college has also been approved as an employer partner for the Cal Work Sharing program, which allows furloughed staff to receive wage replacement benefits based on the reduction in their hours. Human resources will assist furloughed staff with this program, Calvo’s email said. 

“Everyone involved in revising the college budget hoped that any reduction in employee compensation or benefits could be avoided and solutions that allowed for this were vigorously pursued,” Calvo said in the email. “Budget cutting during times of economic uncertainty typically involves a range of unpalatable options and that was true in this process as well. Options focused on selecting an approach that would keep our community as financially intact as possible as we all weather this unprecedented season of difficulty together.” 

Scripps isn’t the only 5C to furlough staff members as a financial solution. Pomona College also recently announced to its faculty it would be moving forward with full and partial staff furloughs despite pushback from faculty and the Faculty Executive Committee, citing a $37 million budget deficit.

Harvey Mudd College announced in early August that it would furlough some staff if unable to bring students to campus in fall, predicting a $12.3 million budget deficit, or about 25 percent of the college’s annual operating budget. The remaining 5Cs have not released budget deficits or announced plans to furlough staff. 

In addition to the partial furloughs, Scripps is taking other financial measures for the 2020-2021 academic year, including a hiring suspension for most new and vacant positions, a moratorium on salary increases, a decrease in divisional operating budgets of $6.3 million, a decrease of $1.2 million in expenditures for The Claremont College Services and a reduction of retirement contributions for all employees to 0 percent from Sept. to next June. The college has also increased endowment spending to 6.6 percent, up from 4.7 percent according to a 2019 budget meeting.

President Lara Tiedens has also taken a voluntary salary reduction of 20 percent while her vice presidents have taken reductions of 5 percent, according to the Calvo email.

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