Update - April 28, 2020
COVID-19 Financial Impact
We know the past several weeks have changed what has been a typical semester and created a level of uncertainty as we plan for the future. The safety and well-being of our campus community continues to be our priority. We are truly appreciative of our faculty and staff who have been a resource for our students, our campus colleagues, and the greater Evansville community during the coronavirus pandemic.
Our proactive efforts to reimburse room and board for our students from the University of Evansville campus and Harlaxton College have totaled approximately $2.3 million in refunds. This has been a very important and timely decision but this and other factors consume University resources. The University can recover some of these unanticipated expenses by participating in the $2.2 trillion CARES-Act federal stimulus program. Since many events, activities, and facilities are shut down over the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic and many employees are not able to complete their primary work responsibilities. As a result, we have decided to implement measures now, at the conclusion of the semester, that leverage this stimulus support. The savings we generate from these measures will allow us to be better prepared to fulfill our mission when our students return to campus.
Understanding the uncertainty that COVID-19 brings and potential financial impacts resulting from this, the following steps are designed to preserve our financial resources and utilize funds provided by the stimulus package. These are difficult decisions, and we are trying our best to minimize the financial impact on our entire UE community. The following steps are being taken:
Extending the current COVID-19 Leave Policy until May 8
Freezing nonessential travel through the 2020 – 2021 fiscal year
Implementing a hiring freeze for nonessential staff
Suspending the University’s contributions to TIAA retirement and VEBA Trust accounts for the 2020-2021 fiscal year
Implementing temporary furloughs and reducing salaries through July 25
It is our intent to minimize the impact on employees and utilize the resources of the government stimulus that is available to support our staff. Our current estimate is that approximately 100 employees will receive notification from their supervisor tomorrow that they will be furloughed, meaning that they will have a period of unpaid time off from work. For most affected employees, the total income from state unemployment benefits and supplemental CARES Act unemployment benefits will be the same as their usual pay. The University will continue to provide full benefits to furloughed employees, including medical benefits, and will provide information about unemployment benefits through combined state and federal resources. Some furloughs may start and end in different increments, but most will begin May 11 and are anticipated to continue through July 25.
Administration and staff, including athletics, will see a temporary salary reduction on a scale starting at 5% for salaries greater than $54,000. The reduction will increase the more an employee earns. Employees subject to salary reduction will be provided leave days that correspond with the salary reduction that can be taken in the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Faculty will be encouraged to take voluntary pay reductions during this period. In addition, I am voluntarily taking a 20% salary reduction. These salary reductions will be in effect through July 25.
Each employee that is impacted by a reduction in salary or the temporary furloughs will receive a personalized letter explaining the details by the end of the week. Additional information and details will be available through My UE Campus Portal.
I regret that these steps are necessary, but I know that the resources provided by the stimulus package can minimize the financial impact to our University. There is nothing more important than the people who are the foundation of our community. This plan will bring back furloughed employees as soon as possible. I am truly grateful for your dedication to our University and for your continued support.
Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz
University of Evansville