Layoffs coming to RPI

The announcement came in a mass email sent out by Shirley Jackson this afternoon. From the email (emphasis ours):

As the economy has worsened, and we have analyzed how it has affected, and will continue to affect, Rensselaer, we have determined that it will not be possible to reduce the budget sufficiently without reducing our recurring compensation expenses, which make up half of the Institute's operating budget. Staffing reductions will be necessary. We would prefer to rely on attrition, but it will not be adequate to meet our financial objectives. Each vice president and portfolio owner has examined their respective operations for reductions in staff, in a way that will enable greater efficiency, improved performance, and elimination of redundancy. We will manage the required staffing reductions as compassionately as possible. We will take such steps in the coming week.

There's already a hiring freeze in place at the school. According to the email, RPI is projecting downturns in income from tuition, gifts, research funding, and endowment.

The full email is after the jump.


To: The Rensselaer Community
From: Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
President and Professor of Physics
Date: December 11, 2008
Re: Impact of Economic Crisis

I write to you today to discuss the economic challenges we continue to
face, and to provide an update on our efforts to meet those challenges.

In my October communication to you, I noted the major investments we
have made under the Rensselaer Plan - in faculty hiring, in research, in
student life, and in capital renewal. These investments have led to new
academic offerings, a research renaissance at Rensselaer, and a surge in
student demand. These accomplishments portend well for our future.

As you are all no doubt aware, both domestic and international financial
markets have experienced unprecedented turmoil, and have sustained
significant losses over the past three months. As the economic picture
worsened quickly and dramatically in September, we took prudent,
proactive steps to weather the ongoing global financial storm. In my
message to the Rensselaer community on October 10, 2008, I described the
steps we were taking to address this economic downturn and its impact on
our budget. We put a hiring freeze in place for both faculty and staff,
with the exception of strategically important searches. We also enacted
contingent non-salary budget reductions, and then further reduced each
portfolio's operational expenses in areas such as travel, advertising,
and consulting services. The hiring freeze and these non-salary budget
reductions will remain in place. We will complete major capital projects
already underway, but defer beginning new ones. Many much wealthier
institutions are taking similar actions now.

Unfortunately, the global and national economic crisis, and its impact
on endowments - including our own - have worsened considerably since my
October 10 communication. Rensselaer, like other institutions, has been
affected by the overall market downturn, and our endowment has been
impacted accordingly. All our major revenue sources (tuition, gifts,
research, and endowment income) will likely be impacted over the next
several years. In so fluid and unpredictable a financial environment,
it is particularly important to manage risk as we respond to changing
circumstances. While we remain strong, managing risk will require
further budget reductions.

We must be concerned with how the economy may adversely impact our
students and their families. We will continue to work closely with our
current and future students to mitigate sudden changes in their
financial circumstances that may threaten their ability to attend or
remain at Rensselaer. We will preserve financial aid and continue to
provide an accessible education for our students. We will protect our
academic enterprise, the foundation of which are the tenured and
tenure-track faculty. We will do all we can to support our staff, who
have diligently enabled our academic and student life programs
throughout this transformative period.

As the economy has worsened, and we have analyzed how it has affected,
and will continue to affect, Rensselaer, we have determined that it will
not be possible to reduce the budget sufficiently without reducing our
recurring compensation expenses, which make up half of the Institute's
operating budget. Staffing reductions will be necessary. We would prefer
to rely on attrition, but it will not be adequate to meet our financial
objectives. Each vice president and portfolio owner has examined their
respective operations for reductions in staff, in a way that will enable
greater efficiency, improved performance, and elimination of redundancy.
We will manage the required staffing reductions as compassionately as
possible. We will take such steps in the coming week.

Thank you for your continued commitment and support of Rensselaer
through these very challenging times. These types of actions are
difficult for any organization. I know that they are very difficult for
each of us, personally, and especially for those directly affected. No
one can yet anticipate when the global and national economic situation
will turn around. The months ahead will not be easy. We, therefore, must
reaffirm our commitment to one another and to Rensselaer, knowing that
we all will have to work harder, and more efficiently, to meet these
challenges, and to carry out our educational and research mission. But
we also know that, with preparation and hard work, Rensselaer will
emerge from this difficult period stronger and more resilient than it
has ever been, with great accomplishments behind us and greater ones
before us.

Again, I thank you for your generosity of spirit, and for your support,
during these challenging times.

(Thanks, Anonymous)


Oh God, this is the first I've heard of it, and I'm a student here. Not only that, but I'm on an employee benefit scholarship because my mom's an employee here.

Worst-case scenario, this could spell the end of my RPI degree. I really, truly hope it doesn't come down to that.

I'd also like to add that this e-mail never made its way to the students. I've been refreshing my inbox since I saw this post, and I haven't heard anything about it outside of this.

Happy Holidays, indeed...

I've not seen much in the media, but I expect to see much of this all over. I'm on the board of a non-profit, and our endowment took a severe hit in the market crash. I can't imagine how many non-profits and schools are being hurt, or how all will cope.

Huh. I'm not having any of those issues at the school that I run - "The School of Hard Knocks". If anything, we have seen every department expand since the economy imploded. Weird!

The first person needs to be layoffed is the current RPI President: Shirley Ann Jackson!

What is her salary? about $800,000? it may be in the top 10 of all US university presidents. But what is the RRI ranking in the national university? about #42.

So, the Shirley Ann Jackson's salary is too high. To "enable
greater efficiency, improved performance", RPI should first layoff Shirley Ann Jackson.

--- an RPI Alumnus

Agreed William. Either let her go back to DC or step up to the $1/year CEO model.

But more likely, this will just have more folks unhappy with her so her security detail will need to be beefed up, and who knows where that budget will come from. Work study for some of the hockey team maybe?

--- bob '85

It's a sad state of affairs when it was announce that she makes $1.3 million (salary and deferred compensation) a few weeks ago but now we have to have layoffs. I would like to see her step up and take a cut or get rid of some of the excess that she has.

As an RPI employee, I do know that there is some excess in staffing but that was their choice when they hired all those people recently. It's not like this economic downturn has come suddenly and is a huge suprise.

I feel bad for anyone who gets laid just doesn't seem fair. According to my boss we are fine but who knows? I wish all the RPI employees the best and cross my fingers that we don't lose too many members of the RPI community.

"I feel bad for anyone who gets laid just doesn't seem fair. According to my boss we are fine but who knows? I wish all the RPI employees the best and cross my fingers that we don't lose too many members of the RPI community."

seconded. fingers crossed for everyone out there - and here's hoping dr. jackson takes a 50% pay cut to cover like 30-40 potential firings. throw claude rounds in there for 50% and almost no one would need to be laid off.

i know let s sell empac thats got to be the ugliest building i have ever seen must be worth 20 jobs at least . i can t believe the trustees let her run rpi into the ground shame on them .

It is indeed a sad day for all of RPI. All of us are hurting during this recession. My husband's retirement has taken a 30%+ hit. Certainly Dr. Jackson should do the right thing and take at least a 50% cut in pay. Considering that she is on the board of some major companies and universities plus the NYSE and gets compensation from all of them it wouldn't hurt her to take a cut. My husband has been an employee for 24 years. He has been through the VSPs from previous administrations and now faces the possibility of losing his job and trying to find another job at 64 years old. His department is short staffed now and can't afford to lose any more personnel.

Seems like this is a little of the old scrooge laying people off this week. Merry Christmas indeed.

How much is in that endowment? Why don't we make up a shortfall from there? Oh, that's right: we never, ever, ever spend any of the endowment. That's why we have it: so we have a gigantic pile of money we never, ever, ever touch. Silly me.

I appreciated that there wasn't a pink slip included with the gold embossed Christmas card I received from her on Saturday. Shirley has really sent a message that she doesn't care about running RPI into the ground. Emailing a warning that lay-offs will begin Monday? How classy! Just after hosting a holiday party and sending out Christmas cards? Then she drags everyone to work on Friday when there was a state of emergency in Troy? Scrooge lives!

I received my gold embossed Christmas on Saturday as well in the lined envelope printed on high quality red paper and was also glad that it arrived sans pink slip.
After all the money that was spent on 3 weekends of parties for the EMPAC opening and then Trustees Weekend and then the Christmas Party you're going to play the "going broke" card and start laying people off. Wonderful!
You set a fine example Dr. Jackson...or is it The Honorable Dr. Jackson...I see nothing Honorable about you right now. Please waste your own money from all those committees you're on, not RPI's...not all of us have millions to fall back on.

It's a good thing you have a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art EMPAC with no theatre or music department, and a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art "athletic village" for a D-III sports program but can't afford to fully staff your library and other essential ACADEMIC areas.
Thanks for laying off my mom for Christmas, Shirley. Rot.

The layoffs have seems like there are some very deep cuts to our staff.

I saw a lot of waste while employed there as well as a lot of favortism. I left shortly after Dr. Jackson came on board. I could see the writing on the wall and wanted no part of it. She has turned RPI into something it was never intended to be. She may be book smart but she has made some very poor decisions for Troy and the RPI community. Time for her to move on.

I have a family member that was just layed off today and I have to say, how heartless can you be to do this to these people the week before christmas. And I wholeheartedly agree with the other comments about RPI spend spend spending where they shouldn't be, and now these employees have to pay the price. It makes me sick to my stomach thinking about these employees that just lost their jobs. I hope Shirley "the millionaire" Jackson is proud of herself. She should have been the first to go, or at least her salary.

A lot of good folks are getting some bad news right now. Not the best way to say "happy holidays", Dr. Jackson.

Lets do a little math, the top execs count for somewhere around $5,000,000, the average rpi employee gets around $35000 salary. If the top execs all agreed to work for free for one year, you could keep the 150 people you just fired. Shirly can fire all of the people she wants, pretty soon there wont be anyone left to run the place.

P.S. if anyone wants to throw a pair of shoes at her that would be hilarious.

Gee, as if we all didn't have enough to worry about with the state of the economy, now people have to worry about finding another job, when frankly no jobs are to be found, and all this the week before Christmas. Today, people who have been here from 3 to 38 years were let go. I'm glad to see that their loyalty to RPI was returned by RPI giving them enough time to clean out their offices and turn in their ID cards.

On the bright side, I'm really glad that they managed to complete EMPAC before RPI completely ran out of money (btw, I thought the two-week gala opening was the perfect touch, don't you?). I'm also glad to see that the restoration on West Hall still continues after almost two much are those contractors getting paid per hour?? These are the important things we need to make sure get done. Never mind a 100-125 people who have to lose their jobs right before Christmas.

If Shirley Jackson took a 50% paycut just this year, approximately 13 people could have kept their jobs. And she could have still managed to squeak by on about $400,000 for the year.

Yes, it sucks and we are all sad. I feel happy to still be here, and guilty to still be here. The VP's do get paid a lot, but really we have no idea how much crap they put up with. Yes, EMPAC seems excessive, but someone gave money specifically for the cause, it couldnt be used for anything else. That's the thing we need to get some of these wealthy people to give to ensure our salaries, not just for projects they would like to see done. It seems unfair to do it now, but I would rather know before Christmas than to over spend to find out I dont have a job to pay all the bills I created.

Our Director got laid off... nicest person you'll ever meet. They were here for twenty some odd years, lived and breathed RPI... even is an alumni. A few years from retirement and they were cut like it was nothing. Their email account was immediately suspended and they had to leave. I love how in the email Dr. Jackson wrote she indicated they'll be "compassionate"... didn't seem that way when they treat people like felons and escort them out. It really makes people who still work here realize just how much RPI cares about their faculty and staff. Devote your life to the institute and just as you're approaching retirement, we'll "compassionately" drop you like an old shoe. Needless to say I think many employees who weren't laid off will probably look for new jobs. I have lost so much respect for this Institute it isn't even funny.

To the last commenter...I believe I know who you are talking about and he was a fantastic person. He lived and breathed RPI and was nothing but loyal. It's a shame that they have let some of the best and most loyal people that RPI had. It makes you lose a lot of respect for them...and Dr. Jackson (not that we really had any for her).

I agree with Emma. I received the same Holiday card the day they announced layoffs were coming, and thought... 'Really RPI?"

I'm currently a student part-time employee working at RPI's DotCIO and I'm both saddened and disgusted by the layoffs. Two good people I've met during my two years here were just let go, just like that. No notice or anything, at least within the department of who was being let go. I just said a simple good night to someone I worked with previously, only to find out from my supervisor that he was just let go. I'm going to regret not being able to have said a proper good bye..... I wonder if any of my professors were also laid off....I (as well as probably many other students) would like to say my farewell to many who have helped me throughout my years here at RPI

The lay-offs at RPI were indeed uncalled for as there are other cost-cutting measures that could have been implemented. It is a shame that efficient and dedicated support staff who consistently received meritorious evaluations were let go on short notice w/o any discussion or consultation with the departments. There was no assessment of the impact or consequences either. Also shocking was the way in which these lay-offs were executed. We lost a wonderful colleague who was a key administrative staff here. Employees such as her work hard and deserve better...

let me continue this blog with an abundant amount of sarcasm, considering that's all Big Shirl really deserves at this point....
so she has been kind enough since she's been here to waste ridiculous amounts of money through EMPAC, the over-extended West Hall renovations, the new athletic center, etc. i mean that's what she is for...duh!....why ever would a president of a college protect her employees and her students and take a pay-cut for herself?, the extreme figure that she makes each year isn't enough, i mean she wouldn't be able to pay the public safety officers that sit outside her home even when shes not there cause god forbid someone egged her she is truly loved no one would ever do that...pleaseeee!
being a child of an employee that just lost their job (right before christmas i may add) i am also extremely worried about being able to gather the funds to stay at RPI...supposedly we're covered through spring but what after that?.....pose that question to shirley ann and see what she says....
don't worry this angry post is now over, after all i wouldn't want to piss off a professor of physics who has the power to layoff employees and ruin a students college career.

Shirley MUST GO....she has ruined the hockey program...and now the Institute is losing. It has been a steady spiral downward since she was hired...just check out the hockey program's success since she was hired. Yet, the security guard is still outside her house, she gets driven around by a driver, and now, she masks what is actually termination with the word "layoff". Why would anyone want to work for her???
Thank the good Lord I left.....

I think what happened is both disgusting and disgraceful. Shirley Jackson obviously does not have compassion for other people. She clearly lives in her own little bubble and does not give a crap about how these layoffs affect the employees and their families. How heartless to layoff these people the week before Christmas. The sad thing is that she probably will not read the comments and opinions people have regarding what she has just done. To all of those who were affected by the layoffs: the best is yet to come. Screw RPI and Shirley Jackson!

i have a friend who lost his job and gave me some inside information, the part that discuss me the most with this layoff is that people were let go right before the hollidays with a severance package of somewhere about 4 weeks in order to help find a new job. But lets be honnest and understand that it will be impossible to be hired anywhere untill after the hollidays. so this pretty much gives about 2 weeks to find a job before collecting unemployment... does this seems to be fair? Just to remind you that Shirley Jackson demands to be called Doctor Jackson in public. I withness an instance where someone called her Shirley and she gave a 5 minutes speech on the respect that she deserves, i hope this will change...
i also heard that the so call state of the art EMPAC was way over budget by somewhere about 60 million dollars.
in my opinion, there has been some major mistake made by the upper staff at RPI and its the lower guy that is paying for it.
some people were at RPI for over 30 years and were let go, i understand that they were probably overpaid but they were on the edge of retirement and they gave their whole life to RPI. This is how SHIRLEY is thankful for them.

Shame on you Shirley for not taking accountability for your board mistakes and taking it on people who cared about the institution. After all, Shirley will leave for a better living and RPI will just be another place where she bank more millions towards her retirement.

i am very sorry for those who have to start over and hopefully things will get better for them.

If you would like to see the propaganda that we are being fed here at RPI follow this link to the FAQs from the Human Resources web site:

I was a lucky one who left the University several months ago for a less toxic job environment. My heart goes out to those who have lost their job, their families and those left behind who are now at "double-duty." Having been at a Director's level position I witnessed first hand some extremely puzzling and troubling management styles (can you say 1950s command and control) and decision making processes.

Dr. Jackson is a brilliant person but simply lacks the management and people skills to lead a major University. The VPs that work for her simply are not allowed to voice contrary opinons and as a result the University administration suffers from an extreme case of "the emperor has no clothes" syndrome.

The other major problem much like the ENRON and AIG situation is the Board of Directors and a number of the VPs are all interconnected by serving on each others boards so no independent accountability and assessment of Dr. Jackson's or the administration's work can be made.

As an alum I owe a lot to my RPI degree as it opened doors for me just by the Institute's name. I would encourage all alums to voice their displeasure by simply not giving contributions until the current adminstration has been removed from the University. Only then will the University be able to return to an academic institution of substance and not form and where the senior administration serves the RPI community and not vice-versa.

I was calling for her to reduce her salary to $1 three years ago... too bad she didn't then, could have saved a few million dollars.

Had an interesting chat with a former RPI employee on Sunday. According to him, there are now all these new facilities on campus (Biotech, EMPAC, Athletic village, etc) with no increase in custodial or maintenance staff.

If true, it sure sounds like a road to a shambles of a campus.

It was a very sad day on Tuesday, at RPI. The phone would ring and i would hear of yet another co-worker that was laid off. It was one of the hardest days i have ever put in working anywhere. I find it hard to beleive that this was not a hard thing for Dr. Jackson to do, and i beleive it has impacted her greatly. Nobody wants people to lose their jobs. It could not have been easy for her or anyone else on this campus to make these kind of decisions, no matter how much money you make. I won't allow myself to think she went through this unscathed. I read in the paper they were unsure how many RPI employees would be affected. The answer, ALL RPI Employees were affected, we are a community.

Are there things that I wish were done differently? Yes, timing, and looking at other options. We can blame and point fingers all we want, but it doesn't change the fact that our ecomony is in a resession. The one thing i can say is i know i need to stay positive and do the best i can to keep it that way. I have learned over my many years of working no job is perfect, and everyone is replacable. It's hard to see co-workers go, most of us spend more time with them then we do our own families. The one thing I am most concerned with is our community, the RPI community, the one's still here to do the jobs. being negitive and bitter won't help anything we need to pull toghter and get through this tough time.

Please take off your rosy colored glasses "Staying Positive" I am all for thinking positively and working together as a community but sometimes people have to admit when they make mistakes. Dr. Jackson did go through this unscathed and if you think she actually sat down and considered the impact on each individual she was laying off then your living in a fantasy world. To her were just numbers...unless your someone who can do something for her or make her look good in the media. In my mind all she had to do was take a pay cut herself...but she hasn't even done that. Is it true i hear she's getting a pay increase next year too? Please tell me it isn't so!

If you ask anyone who was laid off, including myself, if Dr. Jackson ever took the time during her career at RPI to stop by their offices and say hello I guarantee that almost 95% would say no. A good leader should want to know the people who work towards the goals she sets forth. Do you know I took a half day to go and volunteer to work at EMPAC during opening weekend! Even though I didn't agree with EMPAC I thought maybe they would take a look at the names of those who stood forth for something she believed in. I should have known better.

Listen...I am not criticing a positive outlook for I know that's a healthy way to be...I just ask that when mistakes are made that leaders stand up to it and admit their faults. It's the right thing to do.

In my mind Dr. Jackson considers herself elite and when push comes to shove, no one will get in her way. For those who were laid off like myself...move on and celebrate a new beginning. I believe that no matter where you end up you will find yourself in a much better place than RPI could ever become under her leadership.

Best of Luck!

Holy crap. Sounds like RPI is beyond bad right now. It's almost like a miracle of bad. Like, the planets had to align at just the right moment for something this awful to happen. It's like a comet hitting an alien spaceship which proceeds to spin into Earth's atmosphere, gets hit by a bolt of lightning in a cloudless sky, and crash lands into a field of four-leaf clovers. The suckiness is so outrageous, almost should be celebrated.

Unfortunately this is the type of hypocrisy and arrogance that is being revealed everywhere around us right now, and frankly indicative of the direction RPI has been moving in for a long time now. Maybe students and faculty at RPI can take some inspiration from what is happening this week at The New School in NYC to call for the ouster of Jackson and bring attention to this injustice.

I'm concerned that this is all going to really hurt RPI's reputation. I expect to see their rankings fall dramatically next year.

Is that all you can think about RPI student is the school's ranking? Get a grip. There has been far more damage done than a stinking ranking.

As an RPI student, it seems obvious to me that these firings were precisely timed to be right after students went home for winter break, so that the majority of students would not be aware of the firings and therefore not be able to protest. As of today (12/19) there has still been no student-wide email concerning the firings, or for that matter, one concerning the potential murder of an RPI student just a few blocks away from the main campus. RPI is running a very careful campaign of misinformation and noninformation for both students and staff, and everyone is suffering as a result.

I feel terribly for all those laid off during these unprecedented terminations and my heart goes out to them and their families.

This is thoroughly disturbing. This is the second web blog I've read and out of about 80 comments, I've only read one that defended the institution's current job cut and subsequent secrecy campaigns. When a VP chooses to leave, we are alerted immediately by our "great leader" Kim Jong-Jackson. Students have heard nothing yet. I am convinced that she is trying to sweep this under the rug over break.

Its great to be able to hear everyone's concerns voiced as the school has in fact done a great job of quelling any dissidence. Just this semester the Tute eliminated the Faculty Senate, a key forum for faculty to mobilize. Then a retired professor Don Steiner spoke out against the Institute for their actions and he was silenced by having his email blocked. Not only is Dr. Jackson leading a misinformation campaign, she is also smothering any resistance. Sounds like a fascist, greedy, dictator to me.

I know first hand from some higher ups that she is very difficult to level with. The "emperor has no clothes" comment above really puts the situation perfectly.

Although it sounds as if i have truly denounced Dr. Jackson, i must admit she has also worked hard and improved our school. I am actually a fan of the new infrastructure projects as those earmark donations would not have come in unless they were for large glamorous buildings with the donor's name on the front.

Yet it cannot be denied that she has completely ignored the "low lying fruit" and never really considered a "bottom up" approach. With 22 VPs and an employee force that I hear is constantly in full gear, I cannot help but relate Dr. Jackson to a pharoah bent on building his own pyramid to the heavens, neglecting the sentiments of the slave labor doing the dirty work. I feel as though she is most concerned with her legacy. She often only does things when she gets the credit for it...

RPI is a school not a business. There is no number or Physics theorem that guages student happiness and real learning. Morale is horribly low throughout the faculty. I can only hope that students find out about this and speak up.

It was a sad day when George Low died. Now there was a president to be proud of!!!

A heartfelt word to all my friends and co-workers who were let go – please know that there is a tremendous heartache felt by all of us still working for RPI. Your sudden termination left a gaping hole in the RPI Community as well as in our hearts and sole. Please know that we too cry for all that was lost - years of friendship and laughter was ripped out of our hearts when you left us on Tuesday.

Will the RPI community ever smile again?

everyone talks as if they are the only people to lose their jobs during this "holiday season" economic crisis........

Of course they aren't the only ones to lose their jobs, but these are job losses that should and could have been prevented with better planning and financial management on behalf of the university. I haven't talked to a single student who feels that they have benefited from Jackson's administration or any of the campus initiatives.

I was attending classes at RPI toward a M.S. degree and using the RPI employee tuition benefit to fund classes. Employees only need to pay 10% of the tuition. I'm not from a rich family so this was the only way for me to attend college. Unfortunately I was downsized and now I can't afford classes at RPI.

It's easy to blame the economy, but shouldn't our leader take some blame? She the one who borrowed 460 million. Over 300 of it to build a movie theater!

For everyone's information
check out
about Dr. Jackson's salary and compensation.

All over Albany has two rules that are supposed to be easy: The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. These are not easy when it comes to Shirley Jackson. Why be kinder to her that she was to approximately 100 fired employees? Why show her respect when she shows none to people she regards as subordinates? Shirley Jackson is a despot. She deserves criticism, even scorn and termination. How can these facts or opinions be stated in a kind and respectful manner?

Shirley Jackson is a disgrace. She seems hell bent to run the university into the ground. If that's her goal, then she's doing a good job of it. The school's reputation has already been tarnished, and its academic quality compromised, under her leadership. If she has any concern whatsoever for these things -- and the longer she's there the more I see that she doesn't -- she'll take steps to address the problem. A deep paycut for herself and the rest of the upper-level administration would be a good start. Gee I wonder if any upper management was "layed off..." Somehow I doubt it.

For more info about the RPI layoffs:
and recent Times Union article "For RPI, priorities an issue
Layoffs spark questions about school's spending on construction, salaries"

Another thing, RPI is listed as a $25,000 - $50000 level contributor to the Clinton Foundation. As indicated in the TU article, she makes near $3M a year, maybe she should contribute to her friends foundations out of her own pocket, the cheapskate!

An interesting aspect of that $25,000+ contribution was the lack of any fanfare from RPI when the donation was made - given their track record they normally like to toot Dr. Jackson's horn in the media as much as possible. If as William Walker the PR guy stated the donation was for the purpose of promoting student activities abroad why keep it secret? You have to give them credit for the level of Hubris on their part. That amount would certainly not have saved any jobs but given there are probably tens if not hundreds of similar examples of wasted funds one can only guess at the level of fiscal mismangement on the part of RPI's Senior Administrators. Thank god we are primarily an engineering and science school (or used to be until EMPAC) we can always claim that business administration is not our strong suit.

I'd like to know if Dr. Jackson spent or plans to spend $1.1 million of RPI's money on her personal political agenda as indicated on this website: Search the page for "RPI". Did the RPI trustees approve this? Do parents and students know about it? Is my tuition funding this? How is this even possible when RPI is in financial turmoil? This revelation is stunning to me. I never knew that colleges gave money to other institutions - governmental or otherwise. I'm all for philanthropy, but, I thought that the mission and priority of RPI is to educate its students. Something smells really bad here and needs to be investigated. But, by who?

I can't help but wonder how many of the people laid off were those with "dissident" opinions against the administration...

Well the students aren't too happy about it either:

interesting that the Times Union Blog has ceased to exist - do they have time limit on their blogs?

Jackson should be fired. She has singledhandedly destroyed many of RPI's best programs, from firing of well-loved profs to TA's to suppt staff, meanwhile just taking as much money as she can to support an overly lavish lifestyle. The Board of Trustees should be disbanded and a new Board put in. To give Jackson a raise and keep her on is just criminal.

EMPAC needs to be sold, it is a empty shell every day. No one should have to PAY for rehearsal time when it's an RPI music organization using the hall, yet that is what the music program people were TOLD! NERVE! Let's have an over the top lavish opening party with plenty of alcohol and then cut off the people who help run the college smoothly...hmm, the cost of maybe ONE of the drinks bars could equate to the salary of two support staff, probly.

The Adirondack summer house should be sold or at least be opened to students as was the Bolton Landing house donated to the 'tute for study on Lake George. Honestly, Shirley, get real! This is not yr self-made business. RPI existed for many years w/o you but the changes you have made, while some were necessary (clean up of some bldgs), are all too grandiose and unnecessary: an athletic village at a NERD school (my kid goes here, no offense). YEAH, like getting people to watch a football game is ever gonna happen.

Clean up the Hockey arena, get a new coach who can actually motivate and not just talk in circles. After all, RPI has always been known for its hockey, not any other sport, predominantly. Open up the Alumni House for games and any other t ime, it's ALWAYS closed, except for freakout or when Jackson wants to present an award/make yet another longwinded speech.

Infrastructure such as new microscopes, new equipment in the science labs, is desperately needed. Yet all money goes for "show". RPI needs for Jackson to get that Georgia Tech job she is dangling for. She's done enuff damage.

Also very upset that not only are many excellent teachers quietly leaving to avoid the toxicity of Jackson's reign (especially at the end of last spring), but her donation of RPI's money to the Clinton's something supposed Foundation ($38,000) is totally wrong. RPI is an engineering college, not a political tool for use by its President for her own personal reasons. Let Jackson use her "own" money, not alum's money. I am no longer donating to the 'tute while Jackson reigns supreme.

And almost 9 years later, we've still got major issues at RPI with administration.

Dismissal of faculty senate for considering vote of no confidence around 2009-10.

Fall 2011- GM and student senate authored 42 page report detailing admin problems. GM "disappears" and 3 student senators resign.

2015-present: attempted rpi union takeover. 2 major student protests. Admin attempting judicial action against peaceful student protesters at present.

How much more of this can the extended RPI community take?

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