Late last week, eleven workers at GW lost their jobs. The Faculty Association learned that the administration immediately made their email addresses inoperative, leaving them unable to contact any of their colleagues. At least some of these employees were involved in the reopening plans for fall, and after they were fired, GW asked at least two to return to their jobs as temps. It is with heartfelt disappointment that we report this instance of our university administration acting in a predictably cruel and short-sighted manner.
GWUFA has stood firm since the administration first threatened layoffs: we have yet to see evidence that layoffs are a necessary response to pandemic-related shortfalls impacting GW. The lack of budget transparency, the insistence that the endowment is off limits, the refusal to widely publicize our $300 million line of credit, the refusal to consider the Faculty Senate’s proposed budget with its cost-cutting and revenue-generating recommendations, and the utter absence of the bold imagination that might produce other ways forward seem designed to prevent any questioning of the administration. On top of all this, GW has continued to hire senior administrators after announcing a hiring freeze, and they have now fired employees who were part of the reopening team.
It seems more reckless by the day to trust this administration, particularly after the administration’s fumbled roll-out of plans for the fall. Those plans potentially endanger faculty members’ health while providing students with precious few details about what the semester will actually entail. These actions make clear that this administration should not have authority over GW’s finances or reopening plans.
We suspect that the eleven layoffs just announced are only the beginning. Now more than ever faculty must stand with our fellow workers and make our voices heard on what fall should look like. GWUFA has THREE ACTIONS that we implore you to take:
- If you have not already signed the GWUFA pledge to block layoffs and furloughs, please do so here. If you have already signed, click here to see what other actions you can take along with your colleagues.
- If you have not yet signed the GWUFA petition for employee control over safety in the fall semester, please do so here.
- If students contact you with questions for the Fall, make the Faculty Association’s open letter available to them.
We all deserve a more excellent and equitable university, one that is willing to use its existing resources to live up to its mission. GW can be a university that prioritizes the physical, moral, and intellectual well-being of faculty, students and staff rather than the short-term financial goals and interests of administrators. We know that such a university is possible, and we are committed to working together to create this new, more just, version.
GWUFA Steering Committee