A JDJournal tipster points us to Harvard Law School’s announcement this week that the nation’s second ranked law school will have to cut staff after a 10% budget cut.
Harvard University as a whole faces a 30% decline in its endowment.
The law school will leave empty positions unfilled, and is offering an early retirement program, in the hopes of minimizing the number of layoffs.
From our tipster (edited for length):
HLS is planning layoffs and there is no way these layoffs won’t affect the “educational mission” of HLS. The people who work at Harvard all contribute to the educational experience at the school. HLS says it will cut 10% this year and 8-12% the next year – this would inevitably affect programming near and dear to students’ hearts, like clinical programs. Some students here are still asking, “Will the ice rink go?” The answer is an unequivocal “YES!” Dean Jackson already said it, and this is only a drop in the bucket of what would be cut if he sticks with this draconian plan.
Oh no! No more ice rink! I haven’t seen a disaster this dire since UCLA tore out its bowling alley. (Seriously. The year I started at UCLA, they removed the bowling alley. I was bummed.)
There is absolutely no transparency around what landed HLS and Harvard in this situation. (It is not enough to say “the economy is bad,” because Harvard is in a particularly difficult situation and took huge risks with its endowment, which were criticized by many people. It acted like a hedge fund, not an endowment).
Students are very angry that HLS is waiting until summer to make concrete announcements. By the time they are back, the decisions will appear irreversible. Harvard has provided no sufficient justification for its decision to reduce its endowment payout and Dean Jackson needs to stand up to the University Administration to demand a more reasonable response. This is an opportunity for HLS to take a leadership role at Harvard.
Thanks to our tipster!