Recent budget cuts have resulted in the layoffs of many Willamette housekeepers and custodians, a University official has confirmed.
A May 23 Collegian story reported that Willamette’s Board of Trustees adopted a budget that included the layoffs of 37 employees and the furloughs of another 80. The layoffs go into effect at the end of the month.
Tim Cobb, Willamette’s vice president for Marketing and Communications, confirmed in a May 27 email that most of the custodial and housekeeping staff has been laid off, noting that “several supervisorial positions were retained.”
The remaining staff members will be responsible for working with an outside cleaning group, which the University will contract to do the work of the laid off custodial staff. This is the same group that the University already contracts to provide custodial work to the College of Law and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management.
“The move will help save money and provide efficiencies campuswide,” said Cobb.
According to Willamette’s website, the school employed 12 housekeepers and nine night custodians in non-supervisory roles.
Erica Noble (‘19), a former service support specialist at Willamette, described interactions she had with the laid off employees in the Service Center.
“Some members of facilities have said that they expected something like this to happen because they’re one of the most vulnerable groups on campus when it comes to budget cuts,” said Noble.
Cobb and University President Steve Thorsett were contacted for a response to the concern Noble mentions. Neither responded to the request in time for publication.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Erica Noble’s graduation year.