In an April 2 letter to the campus community, Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick announced the firing of 84 Howard staffers, effective immediately.
Among those let go was renowned poet, professor and director of African American Resource Center, E. Ethelbert Miller. Miller, a Howard alumnus, had been employed with the university over 40 years, since returning to work at the center in 1974.
“Ethelbert Miller, a Son of Howard, will always be a champion of our culture and our memory. His work transcends these difficult times,” said Howard University Department of Afro-American Studies Chair Dr. Greg Carr via Twitter.
In his letter, Frederick said the cuts were to ensure the university remains “financially strong” and able to continue in its mission. The positions of those affected, he said, were eliminated immediately and employment terminated.
“To assist displaced employees, they have been offered a severance package, an extension of their insurance and health care benefits, outplacement assistance and other information resources, based on individual eligibility,” he continued.
“The decision to reduce staff is never an easy one,” Frederick said. “Please know that University leadership carefully evaluated a variety of options before concluding that eliminating these positions was necessary to ensure long-term financial stability for the University. I do not expect this decision to have any adverse impact on student services or their academic studies.”
The recent cuts follow a trend for the university in reason years—in February 2014, officials announced plans to cut 200 staff positions and in June 2013, the university went forward with plans to eliminate 75 positions. Despite the institution’s recent financial successes, the persistent losses posted by Howard University Hospital continue to necessitate further examination of staffing levels to ensure future viability of the institution.