In last week’s issue of The Mountain Advocate, dwindling enrollment numbers over the previous four years with a decline of 27%, and 16% in the past decade, sounded the alarm to many alumni of Union College, several of whom are vocal in voicing their displeasure at the state which the school currently finds itself.
Among the latest revelations coming to light is questions about salaries for the college’s administration. According to IRS 990 tax forms, available through ProPublica.org for viewing, the latest numbers available were from the 2020 tax year. Beginning in 2019 and carried into 2020, the reported W2/1099 income for Dr. Marcia Hawkins was listed at $207,301, an increase of $50,001 from a reported income in 2018 of $157,300.
During the same timeframe, Union College officials admitted to eliminating 20 positions, including Director positions, several Head Coach positions, and multiple Assistant positions campus wide. The revelation of the layoffs came amid a lawsuit brought by a former Wellness Director for the college, Alexa Carter, who sued the school in 2021 claiming she was discriminated against and terminated because she was pregnant. Carter was the Wellness Director for just over two years, until November 13, 2020. Carter’s lawsuit was filed in August 2021.
In a letter from the college addressing Carter’s complaints, it stated “in selecting these positions for elimination, Union College considered the cost and necessity of the position. The positions chosen for elimination were deemed non-essential, and any necessary duties could be performed by someone else.”
The news of layoffs of 20 employees while salaries were bumped for Union’s top positions has raised eyebrows among donor alumni, as evidenced in the Facebook group, “I (heart) Union College.” The group is comprised of nearly 800 alumni and some concerned community members.
The available tax information does not break down the $207,301 income to compare it to the $157,300 reported in 2018. The same amount of $207,301 was reported in both 2019 and 2020.
Hawkins’ salary was first reported in the 990 forms as $150,584 in 2015. She took office on July 1, 2012 to great fanfare in the community. Her contract was renewed by the Board of Trustees in July 2022 for an extension through June 2025. According to a release from the college, this marked the third contract extension for the Texas native, and was the first female president for the college, as well as its 19th.
Charles is a native of Barbourville, Kentucky. He has worked with The Mountain Advocate in various capacities since 2003.
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