Stanford residential education restructuring will result in layoffs

May 12, 2021, 10:12 p.m.

Some Residential Education staff will be laid off as a result of Stanford’s plan to restructure residential education in preparation for the implementation of its new neighborhood model next year, the University announced in a Friday email to student staff.

As a part of the ResX initiative, which will divide campus into neighborhoods and redesign residential life, Stanford will add resident directors, community coordinators and neighborhood program directors to its residential system — eliminating long-serving Residence Dean and Community Director positions. 

Student Affairs spokesperson Pat Harris confirmed that eliminating these positions will result in layoffs, but declined to specify how many or if all current RDs would be fired.

“We don’t take these steps lightly,” she wrote. “We want to honor the contributions of our colleagues, who have been here for us, for our students, and for the university during the most difficult of times.” 

Two RDs directed the Daily to Harris when asked for comment, citing University policy. One declined to comment, and other RDs contacted did not respond to requests for comment.

Even before news of the layoffs, the ResX initiative was controversial: While some students were excited about the sweeping changes, others thought the timing was inappropriate and would ultimately harm students who were already struggling to find a sense of normalcy. 

Now, the layoffs serve as yet another blow to students after an unprecedented year, especially for those who developed close relationships with their residential staff. 

“Stanford is giving away and basically laying off decades and decades and decades of institutional knowledge,” said Shana Levine ’22. 

According to Levine, a RD she worked closely with was fired last week as a result of the changes. Even though she has had mixed experiences with some RDs, she explained that “I can tell you anecdote after anecdote of incredible things that she’s done for me, that are not part of her job description.”

“In the end, these are people who genuinely care about the welfare of students,” she added. 

The goal of restructuring is to increase student and community support, wrote Assistant Vice Provost for Residential Education Cheryl Brown and Dean of Students Mona Hicks in their initial communication to student staff. They added that the new model will impact both Residence Deans and Community Directors in EVGR, whose roles will be reshaped into a new live-in Resident Director position. 

Brown and Hicks wrote that they spoke with each impacted staff member individually last week and are committed to supporting them through the transition. 

“We are aware that many of you have built professional relationships with staff whose positions we will eliminate through this restructure,” they wrote.  

Concluding the email, Brown and Hicks referred students to RDs and student staff for support, including contact information for both. RDs “continue to be available to our undergraduate community for student support and resources,” they wrote. 

Emma Talley is the Vol. 265 Executive Editor. Previously, she was the Vol. 261 Editor in Chief. She is from Sacramento, California, and has previously worked as a two-time news editor and the newsroom development director. Emma has reported with the San Francisco Chronicle with the metro team covering breaking news and K-12 education. Contact her at etalley 'at' Milstein ’23 is a desk editor for Vol. 259 Academic News and a Staff Writer. Contact her at amilstein ‘at’

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