Budget Cuts are Always Personal

January 25, 2019

We at The Drew Acorn wanted to take an opportunity to address the lay-off of Kerry Klüg and its effect on all of us. Many people have expressed their opinions about Kerry and his termination, including two authors in this week’s opinion section, and we at the Acorn feel that we have a unique connection to Kerry and needed to share how his termination affected us specifically. Kerry was the Acorn’s advisor for the Fall ‘18 semester.

 

Kerry is an alumnus of Drew, and during his time as an undergraduate student, he was the news editor for the Acorn. Because of this valuable insight and experience, he made an incredible advisor, a supportive mentor and a key person in the newspaper’s success. He probably understood the Acorn better than we did. Being the Acorn’s advisor was only one of the many hats that Kerry wore as a staff member at Drew. Although, on paper, Kerry was only the Director of Campus Recreation, in reality he meant different things to different people; this is something that the benchmarking process forgot to take into account. While the administration argues that Kerry’s formal responsibilities can be taken over by other people in  different departments, there is no one else that can give Drew half of what Kerry had to offer.

 

 PHOTO COURTESY OF DREW UNIVERSITY

 

Possibly the most shocking part of Kerry’s termination was that we were not notified. Like most of the other changes happening on campus, we heard about it from other students. It feels as if, since the article we wrote about the budget cuts in November last year, all of our information is coming from other students, not the administration. The Acorn staff was not made aware that our advisor no longer worked at the school, and even more alarmingly, we still do not have a specific advisor. This is not the first time that this has happened to us. In fact, just last year our past advisor was let go, but at least that time we found out about it from an email from Student Activities, that also informed us who would be taking over the advising responsibilities for the rest of the semester. This time there was no email. We had to go searching and asking to see who would be taking over the responsibilities for now. While those taking over for Kerry at the moment are very capable and wonderful people, we also know they have a lot of other responsibilities. These budget cuts seem to have just piled on more responsibilities to already hard-working people.

 

We understand that this is hard for everyone, faculty, staff, students and administration. We do not believe that these terminations were easy on anyone, or that the decision to lay off an alumnus as devoted to Drew as Kerry was easy. Everyone is being affected. However, it just seems that some of these lay-offs could be handled in a more tactful way. It also feels as if students and their experiences are afterthoughts. We understand that Drew needs to make important financial decisions and that these will sometimes involve difficult changes. But the way the administration is handling the budget cuts and the staff reductions is detrimental to student morale and school spirit. While resolving the budget issues in order to ensure the future financial stability of Drew is undoubtedly important, Kerry was more important to us; he will be sorely missed at the Acorn and his impact will not be forgotten.

 

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