AUSTIN (KXAN) — In letters to the school community, St Edward’s University President George E. Martin announced that the institution has laid off faculty and staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday afternoon, the university said in a statement 10% of employees have lost their jobs. It’s unclear the exact number of people who have been impacted because the university will not release a total number of employees. It did say some non-tenure track, visiting faculty appointments and academic contracts were not continued.

Martin met with university employees virtually on Tuesday to explain the challenges the school faces and sent a number of follow-up letters.

In one letter sent Tuesday, Martin said reductions in staff members was the last things the school considered and that they wanted to avoid it if they could, but “there was no other way to balance the budget” in the face of “significant projected revenue decline.” He said the plan for Fiscal Year 2021 avoids a budget deficit that he describes as “a risk that would jeopardize the future of the university.”

“Our organizational restructuring impacted every area of the university. The streamlining and efficiencies introduced in the plan actually enable us to provide students with an even higher quality experience than before. Most important, the plan avoids a budget deficit in Fiscal Year 2021, a risk that would jeopardize the future of the university. I am confident our plan will lead St. Edward’s to better days ahead,” President Martin said in a statement to the university community on Wednesday.

The university also decided to cancel salary increases scheduled for April 1, postpone capital projects and said presidents and vice presidents will voluntarily reduce their salaries.

“Like most other universities around the country, we have been profoundly and negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in virtually every aspect of operations, from classroom instruction to athletic programs to facility management,” he wrote in another letter. “What may be unique for us, however, is that our Strategic Plan 2022 moves us through our constraints and simultaneously continues investment in the future of our university.”

Another letter shared that the university’s situation is “manageable” but that in looking toward the long term it needs to re-envision divisions, schools and staff structures.

Martin did not elaborate on what positions are being cut, but two education majors told KXAN they have personally heard from three of their professors who were laid off.

“Not only were they my professors, they were my mentors” said Kerry McGillicuddy. “And all of those professors who I know lost their jobs are such active members of the Austin education community.”

McGillicuddy and Liz Nava, also an education major, will both be seniors next year. They wanted to speak up in support of the professors who have shown them so much support over the years.

“It just kind of hurts because the education department professors — I’m getting emotional — you can tell they were so passionate about what they did and what they stood for,” said Nava.

The staff reductions are effective as of May and the letter said vice presidents and divisional leaders would be meeting with the affected staff.

While the university would not elaborate on departments affected, it did say the changes include the consolidation of five academic schools into four. The Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies designed for future elementary school teachers will no longer accept new students. Current students will continue their studies and finish their degree.

Martin said the university is working on long-term investments such as obtaining grant funding, expanding online graduate programs and “re-imagining the future of key assets such as the university library.”

“Our plan presented to the Board of Trustees last Friday, redeploys the university’s resources to ensure our continued financial strength and long-term viability, as well as the extraordinary educational experience that we have provided to students since the university’s founding by the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1885,” Martin wrote in his letter to the community.

In April the university announced it would be discontinuing six athletics programs in response to the economic impacts of the pandemic. The men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, men’s soccer and cheer will be cut from the athletic department budget. Cheer will move to a club sport distinction and be funded under the RecWell Department.

Following the cuts to the school’s athletics programs, Martin warned that the university would need to begin bracing for major budget cuts across the board. He said the university has experienced revenue losses of several million dollars as a result of closing campus, moving to a full distance learning model and reimbursing students for expenses like housing, meal plans and parking.