Due to a decline in enrollment over past terms at Brooks Institute, 12 staff and five full-time faculty members were laid off on November 1.
According to Lynne Baker, a spokeswoman for Brooks, the decline in student enrollment was significant enough to warrant the termination of several faculty and staff positions. Over the past three years, student enrollment dropped from approximately 2,300 students to 1,900 students.
“We could no longer sustain our current staffing,” Baker said on Tuesday afternoon. As to the reason why the individuals were chosen to be laid off, Baker claimed Brooks considered a number of criteria. The names of those employees were not divulged.
“We attempt, to the greatest extent possible, to retain existing faculty and staff positions even as the student population evolves,” said Baker.
Brooks Institute, which educates students in visual and media arts at campuses in Santa Barbara and Ventura, has been under spotlight in recent years after the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education accused Brooks of “willfully” misleading prospective students into believing they would attain high-salary careers after completion of their arts degree. The bureau, currently inoperative, gave Brooks a conditional operating status that requested “equitable restitution” to students enrolled since 1999. However, in a court appeal by Brooks, the judge, along with the California Department of Consumer Affairs, determined the bureau was not in compliance with the Education Code and Brooks’ conditional operating status was lifted. The bureau also granted Brooks’ license renewal.
When asked why the enrollment has declined over recent years, Baker responded, “There were a number of factors and that [the Bureau’s accusation] certainly was one of them.”