Saint Rose music college sue over layoffs

ALBANY — 4 Faculty of Saint Rose music professors who have been terminated within the school’s most up-to-date spherical of layoffs are suing the faculty and Saint Rose President Marcia White for breach of contract.

Yvonne Chavez Hansbrough, Robert Hansbrough, Bruce Roter, and Sherwood Smart have been all long-serving, tenured college members within the school’s music division, which is among the many 100-year-old school’s oldest packages.

In a criticism filed Sept. 16, the school members declare their terminations weren’t carried out in accordance with the faculty’s personal laws and procedures. 

In December 2020, in the course of the top of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Faculty of Saint Rose introduced it was eliminating 25 diploma packages to handle a rising structural deficit. The faculty additionally made roughly $8 million in administrative funds cuts as a part of a multi-year monetary plan to steadiness the funds by 2023.

The cuts have been most deeply felt within the school’s acclaimed music and humanities packages. Some 41 college members misplaced their jobs.

The plaintiffs contend that “well-known” stress between members of the music division college and a few music business professors — who complained of lack of range in music programs and the professors who taught them — was factored into the decision-making course of.


Forward of the cuts, a joint working group made up of administration and college representatives solicited proposals to cut back prices in every division.

Smart, who chairs the music division, submitted a plan that included $560,000 in reductions, famous income
introduced in by music division choices, and instructed further sources of income.

However a bunch of professors who taught music business surreptitiously shaped a separate group and belatedly submitted their very own proposal, one that may get rid of all the music program apart from music business—an act that may terminate all members of the music division besides themselves, the lawsuit claims. 

The plan additionally eradicated the core curriculum courses taught by Smart and the opposite petitioners, rebranding the courses as music business programs.

Saint Rose political science professor Angela Ledford, who represented college within the discussions, wrote in a press release to the College Overview Committee that “stress between Music and MI [Music Industry] was excessive for years, and centering whiteness was one of many core points.”

“We have no idea exactly what prompted the submission of this proposal,” Ledford wrote. “What we all know is that Music Trade had, for a few years, labored to broaden the curriculum to permit for a extra up to date perspective, and to welcome college students with much less formal coaching than beforehand anticipated.”

Of 4 undergraduate music packages, solely the bachelor’s in music business survived. Junior instructors within the music business part have been spared on the expense of extra senior college members, a violation of the school guide, in keeping with the court docket filings.

In its announcement of the cuts, the joint working group “cited the music business counterproposal as a redesigned program that would cut back bills, even though the Music Trade counterproposal supplied little monetary evaluation, and no breakdown of information exhibiting how it could cut back bills,” the court docket filings state.

The faculty bought across the college contract’s seniority clause by treating music business as a separate from the music program, in keeping with the lawsuit. The filings be aware that 43 p.c of programs within the music business focus are taught by petitioners and different terminated professors. 

In Could, the 4 professors behind the criticism appealed their terminations internally to the College Overview Committee (FRC). The committee dominated of their favor, discovering that the faculty’s retrenchment course of was flawed and recommending that the school members be reinstated.

White rejected the FRC’s suggestion and affirmed the terminations.

Faculty officers keep that the 2020 cuts have been needed to maneuver the faculty right into a place of sustainability.

Enrollment within the music division was down 15 p.c within the final 5 years.  The extremely lauded music schooling program had an enrollment decline of 43 p.c in 10 years. The music business program, the preferred of the 4 music levels at Saint Rose, is bigger than the opposite three majors mixed with an enrollment of 100 college students.

The layoff course of was in compliance with the school guide and choices have been made in collaboration with college representatives, faculty officers mentioned in a press release.

“The lack of treasured tutorial packages and valued college members is profoundly painful and an acknowledged loss to the Faculty and group,” a press release reads. “We sit up for presenting in court docket our protection of the litigation introduced by 4 laid off college members.”

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