Several dozen faculty and staff members at Colorado State University-Pueblo will spend the holiday break wondering if they'll still have jobs next semester.
A group of them held a campus rally Tuesday to express concerns about the effect of as many as 50 layoffs on education quality, the local economy and employee morale.
"It's making us all feel like we're under siege and nothing is certain," said Carol Loats, an associate professor of history in her 21st year at the university. "I'm tenured, so my job probably is safe. But what about contract teachers? They're very concerned and many are looking for work. But hiring for next fall at colleges happens in December."
Loats said employees were notified last Friday of the pending layoffs and that no employee knows who might be among those laid off in mid-January.
Kyley Burress, a CSU-Pueblo junior majoring in political science, said she's worried about her professor being among the layoffs and what impact that would have on her education.
"We pay for this," she said. "If we can't rely on our college education, where can we rely on any education?"
CSU-Pueblo President Lesley DiMare said she understands the concern but the university must cut $3.3 million from its budget because of lost revenue from declining enrollment.
"We have around 4,800 students and have had as many as 5,000," she said. "A drop of even a few hundred students can mean a loss of $1.5 million. We live off enrollment. It's happening at other colleges, too."
DiMare said the university didn't raise tuition for the current school year and hasn't decided whether to do it next fall. She said part of the reason for decreased enrollment is that the university stopped allowing students to register if their tuition wasn't fully paid.
"We're trying to be as frugal as we can," said DiMare.
Tuesday's rally lasted around 10 minutes. Several employees spoke at a podium.
Students at the university are on their holiday break.