Trustees at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston voted today to layoff its entire faculty next year.

They also voted to eliminate nine staff positions, most of them on May 23 this year.

The faculty layoffs, the trustees said, would be effective on June 30, 2009.

The trustees say the school has faced a growing deficit, which now stands at $2.9 million and is increasing by about $500,000 per year.

The school reportedly spends more than $50,000 per year on each student’s education, while charging only $13,000 in tuition.

The trustees today declared what’s called “financial exigency,” a financial crisis threatening the survival of the institution. The declaration lets them end faculty tenure and terminate faculty positions.

Seabury is marking its 150th anniversary this year. The trustees are scheduled to meet again next month to hear reports on approaches that would let the school offer self-sustaining programs in the future.

Possibilities under consideration include a merger with another seminary and offering theological education with different delivery systems, including distance learning or short-term certificate programs.

Related links

Seabury website

Seabury-Western gives notice to all faculty, cuts staff (Episcopal Life Online)

Seabury-Western suspends all admissions (Feb. 25)  

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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