Let’s spend the next few days asking questions about the future of Williams in the era of CV-19. (And, yes, I was sorely tempted to call this series “Wuhan Flu Questions,” but I resisted the trolling urge.) For each question, I want your thoughts on what will happen, what Williams will do, and what Williams should do.

Question 3: What about staff?

There are dozens (100? 200?) staff that Williams no longer needs, at least until September, mainly dining hall workers and custodial staff. What should be done?

Given how rich we (still?) are, and how close we are to the end of the school year, I recommend just paying them “as-if” the students were still around. Assuming that some social distance can be maintained, now is a good time to work on cleaning and renovation projects which are normally pushed to one side during the school year.

But, come June, things get trickier. (Does anyone have details on how staffing normally fluctuates during the summer? I assume that some staff stay on, but surely not all of them.) Williams can’t pay salaries forever. That is why we have unemployment insurance. If Williams is not hosting summer camps and the like, then it should furlough staff it does not need, with the hope that they can be brought back in September.

But, in between the faculty (working as normal) and the support staff (with nothing to do), we have the endlessly bloated administrative staff of Williams. What should happen to them? Will the Title IX office just be investigating itself? Will the grievance mongers in diversity/inclusion/equity turn their greedy eyes on the faculty? (Probably!) For now, there is no need for changes.

But, if I were Maud, and there were 50 or 100 positions/people I wanted an excuse to get rid of all at once, now (or, better, May) would be a good time to strike . . .

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