Notre Dame of Maryland University laid off 12 people and eliminated 14 vacant positions earlier this week, officials confirmed.

Greg FitzGerald, chief of staff for the liberal arts college in Baltimore, said the cost-cutting move came because officials wanted to put more resources into student services. No faculty positions were cut, he said. FitzGerald declined to comment on what jobs were eliminated by said they wouldn't be ones in which the staff interacted with students.

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"Higher education is in an evolving state right now," he said. "Students are looking for better services, more supports. We want to make sure they have the best supports and program offerings."

He added: "These people were not laid off for lack of dedication or merit, this was a strategic move."

FitzGerald also said the college's enrollment – down 12 percent between 2010 and 2015, according to Maryland Higher Education Commission data – had a role in the layoffs. But he said it wasn't the primary factor.

FitzGerald attributed some of the enrollment drop to concern from prospective students over the rioting and arson that happened last year after Freddie Gray was fatally injured in police custody.

"We saw a much higher summer melt rate than we usually do, especially for our out of state students," he said. "People were crediting the unrest as a reason why they weren't coming."

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