SWBTS confirms staff cuts, pursues sale of seminary-owned property: 'These have been difficult decisions'
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Texas-based Southern Baptist academic institution, has undergone cuts to its staff as part of a restructuring procedure and might also pursue other measures to address budget issues.
James A. Smith, a spokesperson for Southwestern, said in an emailed statement to The Christian Post on Tuesday morning that the layoffs were part of a previously announced restructuring of the seminary.
“As part of the previously announced intention to implement organizational restructuring, including budget reductions, at the direction of the board of trustees, the interim administration has informed certain staff their employment has been ended,” read the statement.
“These have been extremely difficult decisions as we seek to address our current challenges. We recognize the disruption that this causes for these staff members and their families. There is certainly no joy in having to make these decisions at this time. Appropriate severance is being offered to affected employees.”
The statement did not specify the number of staff laid off, nor did it explain if additional seminary personnel were going to be released in the near future.
Earlier this month, the Baptist Press reported that Southwestern trustees were concerned about the financial stability of their academic institution, with Interim President David S. Dockery saying that while the seminary was “not in a crisis,” the financial issues “could quickly escalate to a crisis if we do not aggressively move to address them.”
Dockery told trustees at the October meeting about plans to reduce the operational and personnel budget by around $3.6 million, with Dockery saying that some of their financial challenges “reflect multi-faceted matters covering a number of years.”
He added that trustees have been evaluating the “campus footprint and its optimal use,” as the 200-acre property “presents significant challenges.”
“For this institution to have a sustainable business model, we must reduce our campus footprint and the resource commitment it takes to maintain it,” continued Dockery, as reported by BP.
This effort includes eventually selling the B.H. Carroll Park Apartments because of “mounting maintenance and renovation costs.” Current residents of the apartment complex will be able to continue living there at least through the current academic year, Dockery said.
In September, SWBTS President Adam Greenway resigned from his leadership position, stating: "These days are incredibly challenging in the life of our denomination. They are also challenging times for academic institutions, particularly theological seminaries."