Rob Watts announces almost 300 layoffs

The following email was sent this morning to faculty and staff by Rob Watts, interim president of GPC:

GPC Faculty and Staff Colleagues:

In my message of May 25th, I reported that we must reduce our personnel costs, representing more than 90% of the college’s expenditures, in order to bring the college’s budget into balance.  I have spent the past three weeks working with the vice presidents to review the college’s initiatives against its core teaching mission and the staffing levels of the college’s various departments and divisions.

I deeply regret that 215 full-time GPC employees and 67 part-time GPC employees are being informed today that their employment with the college will be ending.  The college is providing computer resources and outplacement training for these full- and part-time employees at Clarkston.  In addition, their resumes will be forwarded, as appropriate, to the other USG institutions in the metro-Atlanta area.  We will be working with these employees individually and collectively to try to identify and secure other opportunities.

I want to express my deep appreciation to these staff employees for the work that they have done for GPC and the assistance they have given to students, either directly or indirectly.  I hope that you will reach out to them to express your personal and professional support as they enter this career transition.  If you have ever been through this kind of work transition, you will know how important the support of close friends and colleagues is during this period.

Our first priority in making the reduction-in-force decisions was protecting classroom instruction for students.  No tenured or tenure-track faculty members are part of these staff reductions.  There may be a larger or smaller number of limited-term and part-time faculty members in the fall, but that will be based on enrollment and the academic needs of the college to provide instruction at its various locations and across its disciplines.

All other areas of the college were affected.  Some were affected less, such as public safety, given the need to maintain a safe learning environment on our campuses, and some areas were affected more, such as administrative support.

We will be closing a number of internal institutes.  All of these centers do good work and represent excellent initiatives.  The difficult decision that had to be made, in light of our budget constraints, was the degree to which these initiatives reflected our core teaching mission.

The college must now focus on the adjustments necessary to operate at lower staffing levels.  It will not be easy.  We will all need to be as flexible and patient as possible while we make the adjustments.  Our goal is for these staff reductions to have the smallest possible effect on students.

GPC has been around now for almost fifty years and has served two generations of students.  GPC remains a very academically strong teaching institution.  All GPC campuses are open and are currently preparing to welcome the next generation of GPC students in the fall.

Again, please express your personal and professional support for your colleagues who are affected.  That support will be very important to them.