Protest Held At SCSU Over Retrenchment

Protest Held At SCSU Over Retrenchment Click to Enlarge Photo: Jake Judd (KNSI)

(KNSI) - A protest at St. Cloud State University was held on Thursday aimed at drawing attention to the school's decision to move forward with the retrenchment process.

Retrenchment letters were sent to staff in August due to a "larger than expected enrollment decline for Fall 2019."

Tina Gross has been in the library for 12 years and is one of the staff members getting laid off at the end of the year.

"The library has just been gutted, it's completely emaciated, and even though the University is much smaller than it used to be, the shrinking of the library is completely out of proportion. And the administration just doesn't seem willing or able to acknowledge that or they don't care."

She was one of about two dozen protesters.

Proceedings were formally announced in September to lay off eight tenured faculty and staff.

Four of them will come from the library, three from the philosophy department, and one from the theater department.

Tina says the University's cuts seem arbitrary, and they weren't given a reason as to why those positions were chosen to be eliminated.

She talked about why they decided to protest on Thursday.

"We just wanted to make the campus presence known that they know that people are paying attention and care about what's happening and aren't satisfied with the explanations we've received."

The protest coincided with a meeting with school president Robbyn Wacker after the Faculty Association, the union representing the retrenched employees, filed a grievance over the layoffs.

Blair Tosh works at the library and didn't get a retrenchment letter but says the cuts of his coworkers over the years is hurting the University.

"It's a horribly painful thing for the faculty that's been retrenched to go through, but what these cuts really harm in the long run is the students of this university."

SCSU's retrenchment will cover eight percent of the budget shortfall for a total of $840,000.

The worst-case scenario is the school will come up roughly $6.1 million short for 2021 as enrollment is projected to decline further.

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