- Associated Press - Friday, October 30, 2015

LAWRENCE, N.J. (AP) - A private liberal arts college is cutting 20 jobs and eliminating more than a dozen academic majors to help close a budget gap.

Rider University President Gregory Dell’Omo announced the cuts Thursday during a town-hall meeting with faculty and staff.

He told NJ.com (https://bit.ly/1GOPHaF ) it’s a tough decision but right for the university.

Dell’Omo, who took the helm at the school near Trenton in August, said declining enrollment has contributed to a $7.6 million budget gap in the school’s $216 million budget. The layoffs are expected to save $2 million.

The jobs being eliminated include 14 full-time faculty positions.

Thirteen majors, including philosophy, piano, art history and French, will be cut next year. Current juniors and seniors will be able to complete degrees in programs they have begun, but younger students will need to find new majors or transfer.

The university said 272 students, nearly half of them freshmen and sophomores, are in the affected programs.

Jeff Halpern, contract administrator and chief grievance officer for the faculty union, said the faculty is “dispirited” and “morale is completely destroyed” by the announcement.

Rider, where tuition and fees are over $38,000 a year, has about 3,700 students. Overall, enrollment is 9 percent below 2009, and the number of first-year students this year is 14 percent lower than in 2014.

Dell’Omo said Rider is not in danger of closing.

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Information from: NJ.com, https://www.nj.com

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