Duke University to lay off 75 employees due to COVID-19 disruptions

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A division of Duke University has fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic. Public documents show Duke University will be laying off 75 employees by the start of the new year.

The layoff specifically targets the Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) -- a 40-year-old nonprofit organization that works to serve "academically talented students" and enrich their education -- public documents show.

"This is, unfortunately, a direct result of COVID-19, which forced the cancellation of the TIP residential summer session on the Duke campus and other colleges in 2020 and likely again in 2021 and thus created an unsustainable financial position for the program," Michael Schoenfeld, chief communications officer for the school told ABC11.

On Thursday, in a message to the public, the Executive Vice Provost Jennifer Francis announced that the university had to make a difficult choice of closing the program due to the pandemic. However, later in the message, the organization announced -- based on a review -- Duke will create a new unit in the Office of Academic Affairs to "better align the existing important and diverse precollege activities with Duke's current educational priorities and operational practices."

In the meantime, DUKE TIP says it will no longer be offering programming, including the Academic Talent Search, for the remainder of 2020 through spring 2021 but plans to resume activities next summer "with a new and exciting slate of online courses on a wide range of topics."

The notice, issued on Oct. 8, says layoffs are expected to begin on Jan. 6.
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