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Columbia College Eliminates Vacancies After Faculty Cuts

Columbia College Chicago has laid off 70 faculty and staff members with plans to remove 32 vacant positions to address financial concerns amid declining enrollment numbers.

The announcement tops mounting troubles for the college, whose budget deficit is expected to grow to $38 million.

Columbia College President and CEO Dr. Kwang-Wu Kim recently announced plans to step down July 1.Columbia College ChicagoColumbia College ChicagoColumbia College Chicago

Kim has received some criticism regarding staffing and budget management. Adjunct professors at the college went on a weeks long strike in October 2023 with demands for job security and health insurance.

“With Dr. Kim’s planned departure, we are calling on the board of trustees to make sure the hiring process is transparent and to make sure we have an equal voice in the process,” said Allison Gellerm, spokesperson for United Staff of Columbia College, which represents 275 professional staff at Columbia College.

“We demand that the trustees ensure the administration makes responsible, not reckless, decisions moving forward and that they include staff and students in transparent decision-making processes, including the choice of the next president.”

The layoffs are part of a set of measures designed to reduce the college’s operating deficit by half to stabilize and strengthen the college’s financial footing, according to Jerry Tarrer, the senior vice president of business affairs and CFO at Columbia College. The college plans to sustain student services through reassignments, modifications to existing duties, and staggered work schedules.

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