St. Mary’s University to lay off 24 staff members, furlough 57 employees amid COVID-19 pandemic

The university has reduced its fiscal year 2021 budget by $10 million

St. Mary's University (file) (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – St. Mary’s University announced it will lay off 24 staff members and furlough 57 employees in an effort to reduce expenses in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to university officials.

The university made the announcement Friday, May 22.

University officials said the school is “moving to position itself — not out of concern for survival, but in a sincere effort to move beyond the COVID-19 pandemic — to continue delivering a quality education” and is working to adapt for the fall semester.

However, in doing so, the university has reduced its fiscal year 2021 budget by $10 million to “brace for a decline in enrollment" as a result of the pandemic.

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The staff reductions will take effect June 1, 2020, officials said. Human Resources will work with the employees affected in seeking other employment opportunities and applying for state and CARES Act unemployment funds.

Campus-wide salary reductions will also begin June 1 for higher-paid employees, according to university officials. The university’s leadership team and other employees receiving similar pay will receive 10% in pay reductions, as well.

Some staff members are receiving 6%, 4%, or no reduction in their salary, depending on their levels of pay, university officials said.

The university announced President Thomas M. Mengler, J.D., is taking a 15% cut and is donating 10% of his salary back to the university for scholarship aid to DACA students, who will not be able to receive any of the $1.3 million from the CARES Act.

St. Mary’s will also suspend its matching contribution to employee retirement funds for one year, officials said.

“Taking such actions is difficult, especially as our faculty and staff have stepped up in this unprecedented time to continue our efforts to advance the St. Mary’s mission of education. Many in our communities and families have already experienced great hardships, and the leadership team deeply regrets that the pandemic and its financial costs require imposing even more hardship,” University officials said in a statement.

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About the Authors:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and includes covering breaking news of the day, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" and "KSAT Money" series.