Short Answer: Layoffs

by The Dartmouth Opinion Staff | 1/31/10 11:00pm

Friday's Verbum Ultimum acknowledged the concerns surrounding imminent layoffs. How should the College balance any moral responsibility it has to the community with its bottom line concerns?

If there is an easy way to close the $100 million structural deficit, then by all means let's hear it. So far, however, it looks like there is no way the College can solve such a massive problem without affecting the staff. The College should make no more layoffs than necessary, but it is not the administration's fault that the economy tanked. Morally condemning the College for these layoffs is like blaming rain on the weatherman.Leonard Lewis '10

The behavior of the College toward its employees during this budget crisis has been utterly shameful. Crass and heavy-handed maneuvers like not even allowing employee representation at budget meetings make me seriously wonder if College President Jim Yong Kim is the right leader to reflect our values. Dartmouth has a responsibility and a duty to help the Upper Valley in any way that it can, even if that means temporarily compromising on "The Dartmouth ExperienceTM," whatever the heck that is.Raza Rasheed '12

The College must realize that it is the hub of economic activity in the Upper Valley. Sadly however, the "Dartmouth Students Stand with Staff" campaign is ineffectual and uninspiring because it combines the ambiguity of American Eagle's slogan, "Live Your Life", with the solipsism of Burger King's "Have It Your Way." The ubiquitous posters that state, "This is Joska and he is part of my Dartmouth experience" would be more rousing if they read "This is Joska and he needs his job to support a family of four."Josh Kornberg '13

At this point, the question of the College's "moral responsibilities" to staff is irrelevant. The College has a legal obligation to engage in a good faith collective bargaining process with the SEIU this was written into their contract. Dartmouth must prove its commitment to living up to the law.Jordan Osserman '11If the "Dartmouth Experience" is the center of this whole process, then sacrifices must be made. First, freeze salaries of higher paid administration officials. Second, do as the 75 faculty members suggested: cut salaries by 5-10 percent across board and implement a three to four month furlough for some workers, instead of laying them off. Lastly, scrap the non-essential Undergraduate Advisor program for upper-class residence halls. Let Dartmouth show its understanding of the human costs of budget cuts by heeding the concerns of students, faculty and staff.

Nana Amoah '11

Dartmouth does not have an institutional or moral requirement to hire as many people as possible. Like all institutions, Dartmouth should hire exactly as many as it needs to complete its mission, which is primarily to educate students. If finances force a college to choose between its mission and the number of workers it hires, it should choose its mission every time.Peter Blair '12

Though I hope the College will attempt to do right by its employees, at the end of the day it must be held responsible for its actions by the 4200 students paying thousands of dollars a year to attend this institution. If the student body insists that the College treat its employees more fairly, the administration must be obligated to listen.Adam Sanford '13

Dartmouth is not a corporation. We should run our campus with solid economic principles, but learning requires a much more nuanced mindset than a bottom-line perspective.Spenser Mestel '11

The unfortunate reality surrounding the College's fiscal situation is that students are the primary concern of this institution. If staff layoffs must be made to prevent reductions elsewhere that directly harm students, then so be it. However, Kim and the administration must be more frank about whether layoffs truly benefit students or simply improve the College's balance sheet.Suril Kantaria '13