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AAD Reorg: Regional Offices Closing, 41 Layoffs, Resources Shifted
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Tuesday, 24 March 2009

In response to both an internal "strategic planning" process and mandated budget cuts, Charlie Phlegar, vice president for alumni affairs and development, has announced a major reorganization of the division. Regional offices will be closed in Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Houston, Miami, and San Francisco -- leaving only the New York City office -- and there will be significant staff reductions in Ithaca. In all, 41 AAD employees are being laid off. In addition, major gift officers will be moved from University Development to the colleges and units, some operations will be shifted to other university divisions, and there will be "strategic investment" in alumni programs, with an emphasis on better use of technology for communicating with alumni.

For more, see the Daily Sun and Cornell Chronicle articles.

"Reimagine the University" Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 March 2009

At an open forum for staff on Monday, March 16, President David Skorton reviewed the University's financial status and assured attendees that while layoffs were inevitable, they would be done in a "humane and respectful way."

Citing a budget deficit of $230 million, Skorton said that Cornell's leadership is "doing what needs to be done" to keep the University on solid financial footing, but noted that the impact of the financial crisis means it will be necessary to "reimagine the University." Asked about campus construction, Skorton said that "nothing is going forward" at least until the end of the semester, pending review.

For more, see the Daily Sun and Cornell Chronicle accounts.

Trustees Authorize Bond Sale Print E-mail
Monday, 09 March 2009

On March 6, the Board of Trustees authorized the sale of up to $500 million in taxable bonds to provide working capital for the University. They also reduced endowment expenditures by 15 percent for the coming academic year. These steps, and others, were outlined in a message issued by President David Skorton.

Initial response was generally favorable, although a Daily Sun editorial pondered the question of faculty retirement and wondered about the financial and educational impact of senior faculty retaining their tenured positions because of the financial situation. The Sun also asked why the restructuring of the University's investment portfolio has been "shrouded in secrecy."

Coulter & Olbermann Clash Print E-mail
Friday, 06 March 2009

Two of Cornell's more famous—or perhaps infamous—alumni got into a tiff over Rush Limbaugh recently, and it carried over into a spat about their Cornell degrees. After Keith Olbermann ’79 criticized Limbaugh, Ann Coulter ’84, an Arts and Sciences alumna, countered with a comment that referred to Olbermann's "Old MacDonald" degree from the Ag college. Olbermann, of course, fired right back. Read all about it at, where they compared it to the clash between (fictional) Cornellian Andy Bernard and colleague Dwight Schrute on NBC's "The Office."

CU to Cut Faculty & Staff Print E-mail
Monday, 23 February 2009

In an interview with the Cornell Chronicle, Provost Kent Fuchs said that the economic crisis will force Cornell to reduce faculty over the next three years. Some positions that become vacant because of attrition will simply not be filled. "We need to manage the reduction in the number of faculty strategically," Fuchs said, "so that high-priority areas don't lose critical faculty." Deciding where the reductions should take place will be part of an insititutional planning process that will begin in March.

Staff will also be reduced. On February 27, President David Skorton and Vice President for Human Resources Mary Opperman announced a "retirement incentive" program that will allow senior staff — those over the age of 55 with at least 10 years of service — to take immediate retirement with a lump-sum payment and an enhanced university contribution to their retirement plan account. A phased retirement plan, with reduced work hours, is also being offered.

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