Staff layoffs finalized over Fall break


The remaining budget deficit sits at $16.8 million, and the university plans to save more money through a combination of the staff layoffs, employee resignations and retirements. (Alex Drew / Golden Gate Xpress)

SF State finalized the termination of several university staff following the administration’s sending out of a layoff notice in September.

The university’s initial wave of layoffs occurred on Nov. 9, and the staff layoff process was completed on Nov. 23.

Of the previously reported 120 California State University Employees Union (CSUEU)-represented staff that were to be laid off, 68 received a notice of termination on Nov. 9, according to CSUEU Unit 9 representative and steward Katie Murphy, who is also SF State’s Department of Communication Studies’ academic office coordinator. 

SF State Associate Vice President of Human Resources Ingrid Williams confirmed that “72 positions were eliminated” as of Nov. 9. Aside from the layoffs experienced by CSUEU-represented employees, Williams said that SF initially planned to lay off 11 Teamsters positions, however only eight of those positions were eliminated as of Nov. 23. 

“Through union activism, through the bargaining process, we were able to encourage the university, pressure the university into rescinding 52 of the 120 layoffs, so almost half,” Murphy said. 

Meghann Dubie was an assistant academic office coordinator for the School of Theater and School of Music who was one of the staffers laid off. “In addition to just kind of the general state of things in the world, I’ve had some personal things going on, as well,” she said. “So this is kind of just one more, you know, like, really terrible thing to happen this year. I’m trying to be optimistic about it.”

Of the 52 layoffs that were rescinded, 25 were grant-funded positions, meaning that they are not funded by the state.

“You didn’t need to lay them off for the contract, and laying them off won’t save you any money; in fact, it will cost you money because the university gets a little percentage of the grant towards administrative costs.’ So we told them that and they rescinded those layoffs,” Murphy said.

Dubie had been working in her position since Sep. 2019 and received her layoff notification this September just before completing her one year probation period. New employees are considered permanent once they have completed a one year probation. Since Dubie received her layoff notice before completion of her probation period, possibly prohibiting her from being considered a permanent employee, she is uncertain as to whether she will be put on the university’s rehire list, which is a right of permanent employees. 

“I was definitely happy for, you know, the other people in the university who got their layoff notices rescinded, and I was hoping that that number, you know, would increase, that amount of people whose layoff notices were rescinded, but unfortunately that was not the case,” Dubie said.

In terms of money saved from the layoffs, Murphy said the university was trying to save $7 million through staffing reductions, which excludes faculty reductions. According to CSUEU’s calculations, the university was able to save between $3 million and $4 million through the staff reductions. 

According to Williams, the university calculated a $37.9 million financial deficit for fiscal year 2020. As a result, the university has taken measures to lower the deficit:  Williams listed the measures: “imposing a hiring chill across the campus; postponing campus-funded deferred maintenance projects; lowered utility bills through reduced use of buildings; and non-retained several management positions.” 

The remaining budget deficit sits at $16.8 million, and the university plans to save more money through a combination of the staff layoffs, employee resignations and retirements.

“We will not have a full scope of the payroll savings arising from the layoffs, resignations, and retirements until early 2021 because final numbers will not come in until the end of 2020,” Williams said in an email response to Golden Gate Xpress.