Temple University laid off eight employees of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice on Tuesday. Several sources with direct knowledge of situation who did not want to named, citing job insecurity, said that Hope’s interim leaders and Temple administrators attempted to reconcile the center’s finances and discovered a deficit earlier this year when founder Sara Goldrick-Rab was placed on paid leave amid an investigation into center operations. Current and former Hope employees previously told Inside Higher Ed that the center suffered from climate issues and possible financial mismanagement under Goldrick-Rab. Goldrick-Rab, who remains a professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple, declined comment on the situation Tuesday, citing the terms of her leave, but she suggested that Temple, not Hope, suffered from financial mismanagement. Goldrick-Rab also said the laid-off employees had been hired under the financial leadership of someone else at the center, who has since left, while Goldrick-Rab was the active center director.
Hope’s interim director, Anne Lundquist, did not respond to a request for comment. Temple said in a statement that it “fully supports the efforts and mission of The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. The Center, like many dedicated research operations, relies on funding from grants to support its activities. When grants end, research centers routinely right-size their staffing and budget. For this reason, several staff members’ positions were eliminated at The Hope Center.” The center “is reorganizing its team to complement its current resources" and with "new funding coming into the organization regularly, Temple intends that The Hope Center will continue its important policy and research work into the future," the university said.