Reorganization of administration and declining enrollment lead to job cuts

By Thalia Yunen and Melissa Hanson

Suffolk University’s president announced in an email to all employees on Thursday that 14 jobs were eliminated from the university.

In the email, obtained by the Journal, President James McCarthy said due to changes within Suffolk and, more broadly, within higher education, it became necessary to make a “small reduction in force.”

“Several positions have been eliminated, and there has been some reassignment of responsibilities,” wrote McCarthy. “Suffolk remains committed to investing in areas of strength as we work to contain costs and minimize tuition increases.”

Most of the 14 people who lost jobs were employed at the Law School or in the university’s IT department, according to Greg Gatlin, a university spokesman.

“These are very difficult decisions,” he said in a telephone interview shortly after the email was sent. “We’re very sorry to see any friend or colleague leave.”

Gatlin said those employees will receive severance.

The American Bar Association Journal reported that in 2013, first-year enrollment at U.S. law schools declined to a level of enrollment not seen since 1975, and that law school enrollment dropped 24 percent from fall of 2010 to the end of 2013.

McCarthy said in the email that “Suffolk is not immune to national trends toward declining law school enrollment, and we are adjusting the size of the school in the face of that new reality.”

Jobs cuts at the university follow announcements earlier this month that for the 2015 fiscal year Suffolk will be operating on $11.2 million less than the 2014 fiscal year and also will not be instituting salary increases when the 2015 fiscal year begins in July.

However, the spokesman does not believe the university is in economic trouble, but rather taking steps to contain costs.

“We are making sure that we are operating on the resources that we have,” Gatlin said.

Part of this will be in creating a more united IT department.

“What this reorganization will do is create a more unified, strategic approach to the university IT operation,” Gatlin said, noting that IT will improve its customer service upon this change.

Not affected by cuts or revenue losses is 20 Somerset, the glass-laden, multi-million dollar building which is set to open fall 2015.