Judson University in Elgin has laid off 21 staff members and opted to end 11 faculty members' contracts effective next year, officials said.
The board of trustees met Oct. 26 and 27 and decided to lay off 10 full-time staff members and 11 part-time staff members effective Oct. 31, Judson interim President William Clark Crothers said. The affected faculty members' contracts will not be renewed after June 30, 2013, and five additional tenured faculty members volunteered to retire, he said.
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"Perhaps we've been adding people too quickly, and haven't been growing as fast as we anticipated," he said.
Judson has almost 1,200 students and employs about 100 faculty members and about 200 staff members, he said.
This year, the university is $165,000 in the red across all funds and endowments, with total assets at more than $44.7 million, Crothers said. With this move, the board ensured next year's budget will be balanced, he said.
"We have had a 'right-sizing' in the institution. We just needed to trim back a bit to be more efficient in our operation," he said.
The faculty handbook sets a March 15 deadline to let faculty members know their contracts won't be renewed, but the board wanted to give people ample warning, Crothers said. "We wanted to do it now so they could be out in the marketplace early in the process this spring, rather than late," he said.
Laid-off staff members worked "all across campus" in positions ranging from clerical to sports information and advising, he said.
The laid-off full-time staff members will get four weeks' pay, plus one week's pay for each year worked up to a maximum of 12 weeks, Crothers said. Some had been at Judson just a few months, he added. "They're getting help through this process. We've lined up consultants that are working with them," he said.
"I am very optimistic about the future of this place. I think Judson has a bright future," he said.