March 8, 2012
I write regarding staff restructuring at University of California Hastings College of the Law. The faculty, staff, students, and governing Board worked for a year to produce a bold strategic plan for our future. We are implementing this plan, which will make us a better institution in every respect.
Today, we announced a set of staff changes that included layoffs. Other staff have been placed on a part-time basis, which helps mitigate the need for further layoffs. The strategic plan calls for reducing the JD enrollment, which will improve not only student experiences and employment prospects, but also our performance on many of the metrics by which we are assessed. As a corollary, we must reduce the staffing levels in the most responsible manner.
For more than a year, we have prepared the institution for this eventuality. In Town Hall meetings, I have shared the reasons for the staff changes and listened to concerns raised by all constituencies. During the current global economic crisis, UC Hastings has maintained its staffing and compensation. There has not been any prior need for layoffs, furloughs, or pay cuts.
We value everyone who works at the school, and I feel terrible about layoffs. It is important to emphasize that all of the staff changes will follow our institutional policies and best practices. Employees who are members of bargaining units will be treated according to the agreements we have entered into. All employees will be given severance packages as well as pre-termination hearings if requested.
Our core academic programs will become stronger thanks to the strategic plan, to the benefit of our students. Our finances also will become stronger, ensuring our ability to compete. We will be better able to pursue our goals.
As the first law school of the American West, UC Hastings has always been at the forefront of innovation. We must adapt, and we are doing so.
-Frank H. Wu, Chancellor and Dean
Alex A.G. Shapiro