When New England College officials announced they might cut staff to balance a budget shortfall, faculty convened an impromptu gathering Friday and quickly pledged to donate the $100,000 necessary to avoid layoffs, according to professor Christopher Dale.
Over the weekend, most of the school's 70 faculty members, who were not up for cuts themselves, made contributions to offset a more than $350,000 deficit caused by a drop in enrollment, according to NEC spokeswoman Kathleen Williams. Because of the shortfall, the school's 175 staff members will take unpaid furloughs between now and June 30, with most lasting five days and a handful stretching several weeks, according to Williams.
The lost pay will be painful for many but less so than the loss of a job, according to Dale, who said many faculty members were distraught over the possible cuts.
"(We) learned that among the various options some staff people could be laid off as a budget cutting measure. . . . You start putting faces to the idea of people being laid off and losing their income. And not only are you making more income, but you've got significantly more job security as a faculty person," said Dale, who has taught at NEC since 1985. "It just seemed like the right thing to do."