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Eastern Gateway Community College faculty given layoff notices

Eastern Gateway Community College
Ryan Loew
Ideastream Public Media
Eastern Gateway Community College's downtown Youngstown location. The college sent layoff notices on March 28, 2024 to all 140 faculty members amid ongoing financial troubles.

All 140 of Eastern Gateway Community College’s faculty have been notified that their contracts will not be renewed past the spring semester, the college's faculty union confirmed Friday.

According to a copy of the notice sent to faculty members on Thursday, the decision is based on the "financial constraint" of the college, and the faculty will be employed through the end of their contract, July 31.

The board of trustees voted last week to shutter the financially troubled community college by the end of May absent any new funding sources. The college, which has campuses in Steubenville and Youngstown, had announced in February it would be halting all enrollment, with other schools including Youngstown State University and Stark State College stepping in to help students continue their education elsewhere.

Eastern Gateway has been subject to what the U.S. Department of Education calls "heightened cash monitoring," slowing the flow of federal funding, after it ordered the college last year to halt a free tuition program that it deemed to violate federal law. The college's enrollment dropped steeply after that change from 15,000 to 9,000 between the fall 2023 and spring 2024 semesters.

The Ohio Auditor and other law enforcement agencies also executed a search warrant at the college in January over financial irregularities. Former college president Jimmie Bruce and former vice president James Miller were indicted in summer 2023 in connection with allegations they stole thousands of dollars from the college, although those charges were dismissed "without prejudice" in January, meaning they could be re-filed again

Youngstown State President Bill Johnson has previously said YSU would look to hire some of Eastern Gateway’s faculty and is in the process of opening a new branch in Steubenville, which could use Eastern Gateway's buildings.

Jim Corrin, president of the faculty union at Eastern Gateway, said Friday that based on his conversations with YSU officials that the university is looking to replicate most of Eastern Gateway's programs.

"I was told that our current employees at Eastern Gateway will be guaranteed interviews for any position that we qualify for," he added.

A YSU spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment sent Friday.

Conor Morris is the education reporter for Ideastream Public Media.