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Trocaire College, in the wake of several years of declining enrollment, announced Tuesday afternoon that it was cutting six staff positions and reassigning those responsibilities to other employees.

Trocaire, the only private two-year college in Buffalo, expects to enroll 75 fewer students this fall than last year, when enrollment stood at 900. As a result, six full-time staff members were fired Tuesday and a number of part-time positions will not be filled once final registration figures are known Sept. 4, said President Paul B. Hurley Jr.

He vowed the school's educational quality would not suffer.

Hurley said tasks that had been the responsibility of the staff members who were fired would be carried out by other employees. He said faculty and staff at the college would be informed of the firings and reorganization in a letter to be sent out today.

"What they were doing will still be done," Hurley said in an interview. "Someone who before was just doing A will now be doing A and B."

He emphasized that no full-time faculty members were among those fired, but that "a good number" of part-time faculty would not be retained, depending on enrollment within certain programs. The fall registration period ends Sept. 4.

Earlier this year, two faculty members in the nursing program retired, and Hurley said their positions would not be filled. In January a faculty position in the health information technology program was cut.

Hurley attributed the declining enrollment to changes in the health-care industry, which has experienced a wave of mergers, layoffs and overall belt-tightening in recent years.

The drop in students attending the South Buffalo institution comes as the school has undergone two fundamental changes in the past year.

Hurley, a Buffalo native, became president July 1. He is the first man and the first lay person to head the private college, which was founded 40 years ago by the Buffalo Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy. Last year, the college moved its operations into an expanded and renovated Marian Hall.

Trocaire, located at 360 Choate Ave., has a tuition of $7,150 per year. Its program focuses on training students for careers in health care, such as surgical technicians, nursing, radiological technicians and clinical lab technology.

The college has moved to update its curriculum in recent years, focusing more on programs in business and technology, Hurley said. Trocaire now offers an associate's degree in environmental technology, as well as one-year certificates in customer service, hospitality management and medical billing.

"I think we're going to have to continue to diversify our offerings," said Hurley.

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