Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Charles Drew medical school to cut 10% of faculty, staff

February 6, 2009 |  7:46 am


Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in South Los Angeles will lay off 10% of its faculty and staff and slash executive salaries in an effort to reduce annual expenses by $10 million, officials said.
Between 35 and 40 people will be laid off and contributions to all employees’ retirement funds have been suspended, officials said.

“It’s terrible,” said Dr. Susan Kelly, CDU president and chief executive officer. “We were in pretty good shape in June, but ... our normal sources of funds dried up.”

Kelly said the university has suffered a roughly 10% loss on its investments since September and that donor funding and state and federal grants are down.

“It’s been escalating out of control,” Kelly said of the economy. She said the reductions were “unavoidable” and that they were planned to help the university survive through tough economic times.

“If we can make this work and cut other expenses and get some breathing room, then we can get through this,” Kelly said.

Under the new plan, executive salaries will be reduced by 10% and employees earning more than $42,000 a year will have their salaries cut 5%. Travel and overtime will be severely curtailed, officials said. The job and salary cuts are expected to take effect in early March. Kelly said she hoped this would be the only round of staff reductions.

But she added that no one knows “what’s around the corner with the economy.” The budget cuts at Charles Drew  come as many universities and colleges around the country are struggling with their own fiscal problems. The University of California recently cut its incoming freshman enrollment to help head off expected state budget cuts. Student enrollment at CDU, which has about 352 students -- most of them black and Latino --  was not affected by the cuts, Kelly said.

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz

Photo: 1st year students in the physician's assistant program at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Willowbrook, make their way on the campus on Friday morning. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles