Mount Holyoke College furloughing undisclosed number of employees

  • Mary Lyon Hall at Mount Holyoke College. Mount Holyoke College/via Flickr

Staff Writer
Published: 8/27/2020 7:23:21 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — Mount Holyoke College will furlough an undisclosed number of employees as it continues to make financial adjustments due to the COVID-19 crisis, according to college leaders.

The furloughs will be implemented due to “further reductions in operating budgets” that “have been identified across all divisions,” according to a letter to the college community signed by Shannon Gurek, vice president for finance and administration and treasurer; Dorothy Mosby, interim dean of faculty and vice president for academic affairs; and college President Sonya Stephens.

The college’s endowment is estimated at over $770 million, according to officials, and “provides both current and long-term stability.”

But the decision to go all-remote for fall classes “clearly is not without impact to our budget,” the administrators wrote. Measures taken against COVID-19 over the summer and during the fall are estimated to result in a $6.5 million budget hit, according to the officials.

“While the College is fortunate to have a strong financial foundation, the pandemic has created both short-term and longer-term challenges to our operating model, and we will need to continue to be disciplined and strategic with our resources to ensure that the College emerges from this moment in a yet stronger position, the better to support our students and all those who assure their success,” they said in the letter.

A college spokesperson could not be reached for comment on Wednesday or Thursday.

Previous financial adjustments include hiring freezes, which remain in place for most positions; reductions to nonessential spending; employee retirement contributions; summer furloughs; and salary reductions for some senior leaders at the college.

These measures, in addition to federal stimulus funds, “enabled us to close the 2020 budget gap caused by the pandemic,” the administrators wrote.

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