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Paul Smiths College President John Mills in his office on Tuesday, shortly after announcing major job cuts at the school.  Photo:  Brian Mann
Paul Smiths College President John Mills in his office on Tuesday, shortly after announcing major job cuts at the school. Photo: Brian Mann

Updated: Paul Smiths College cuts 12% of staff, faculty

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Facing declining enrollments and rising costs, Paul Smiths College in the Adirondacks today announced that roughly 12 percent of faculty and staff will be let go. College President John Mills (click "Listen" to hear Brian Mann's interview with Mills) says the "restructuring" plan involves the loss of 23 full- and part-time positions. "I am deeply saddened that we must let go of several people as we restructure our operations," Mills said on Tuesday.

In all, 11 staff and faculty will be laid off, while 12 more jobs will be cut from open positions or people who "have left the college voluntarily."

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Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

Update: Pay cuts, cuts to retirement benefits also planned

Second update: Paul Smiths officials say the college's board declared "a state of financial exigency," triggering a clause that allows the school to "renegotiate and cancel some contracts."

I'm confident that these changes will position us to weather a very difficult time in higher education.
School officials also say the reorganization announced Tuesday will include several other major steps, including pay cuts for administrators, and a halt to contributions for retirement accounts for the upcoming fiscal year.

Update: Paul Smiths College faculty senate chair Eric Simandle says his organization plans to meet on Thursday to discuss the job cuts. "I'm saddened that the faculty have been lost both for the faculty members and their families," Simandle said. "It's our goal to come together to meet these challenges."

Cutbacks blamed on enrollment decline

Mills attributed the cutbacks to sharp reductions in the number of students enrolling at Paul Smiths College, suggesting that confirmed numbers next year will be down by roughly 200 over peak enrollment.

With 190 full- and part-time faculty and staff, Paul Smiths College is one of the Adirondack Park's largest private employers.  Photo:  Brian Mann
With 190 full- and part-time faculty and staff, Paul Smiths College is one of the Adirondack Park's largest private employers. Photo: Brian Mann
In all, roughly 800 students are expected to arrive on campus next fall. That's a one-year decline of 100 students. "I'm confident that these changes will position us to weather a very difficult time in higher education," Mills said, pointing out that other small colleges and universities have announced similar cuts in recent days.

Sources at Paul Smiths College say Mills first informed the Board of Trustees about the planned cutbacks over the weekend. Meetings with staff and faculty have been underway this week. This news comes at a time when Paul Smiths already faces uncertainty, with Mills himself scheduled to step down at the end of June.

He told North Country Public Radio today that he has agreed to stay in his post while the trustees search for a replacement.

NCPR news will be updating this story through the day.

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