Quinnipiac sacrifices the queen, apparently

Quinnipiac-university-connecticutQuinnipiac University announced it would lay off fifteen professors, according to a local newspaper.  This looks like another case of what I’ve been calling “sacrificing the queen“, when a campus cuts full-time faculty and significant programs for reasons of revenue and student numbers. Here’s how Quinnipiac fits the pattern, apparently.  It removes faculty from what seem like core or important programs:

A university source who spoke on condition of anonymity originally said… 11 professors from the College and Arts and Sciences, the university’s liberal arts school, four professors from the School of Communications and various numbers from other schools will be cut…

Then the institution cites economic and enrollment reasons:

“The university is …  reducing the number of faculty in areas that have had declining enrollments over the past two years,” said Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs.

There’s more from that previous, unnamed campus source:

The source also said a $6 million shortfall in income and unexpectedly low student enrollment numbers were to blame for the layoffs.

We can infer that the low enrollment stems in part from the American northeast’s falling numbers of teenagers.  Overall, this resembles a typical queen sacrifice. However, I hesitate to declare Quinnipiac’s move firmly in the queen sacrifice mode, as of this writing.  First, the university’s layoffs are nearly balanced by new hires.  Here’s the full version of the quotation I excerpted above:

“The university is adding faculty in areas of growth and reducing the number of faculty in areas that have had declining enrollments over the past two years,” said Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs. “As a result, 12 new faculty members will join the university this fall, and 15 professors currently on the faculty have been notified that they will not be reappointed next year.”

That’s almost a wash in terms of total faculty numbers.  If we’re thinking metaphorically, maybe this isn’t a queen sacrifice so much as a castling.  In humane terms, it’s a personal disaster for those laid off, a career challenge to students currently in or considering those programs, and a boon for those freshly hired.

Second, there isn’t a lot of information about the story.  We don’t know precisely which departments are facing the ax, and which will receive new professors.  Also unknown are the fates of support staff.

Moreover, as of this writing the New Haven Register’s article is the only one on it, according to a Google News search and more than a day of Twitter and Google+ queries.  There’s nothing on the Quinnipiac news page.  I’ve hedged this post with some “apparently”‘s, a “seem like”, and a “looks like” to respect that, and hope to learn more soon.

EDITED TO ADD: comments have built up on the Register’s article, with a number of assertions and disagreements.  Overall they back up the main point of cuts, but offer competing versions of the number of cuts, departments involved, and motivations.

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