ND braces for economic crisis, suspends merit increases and salary promotions
Observer Staff Report | Monday, April 6, 2020
In an April 1 letter sent to University faculty and staff and made available under the University’s COVID-19 resource website, executive vice president Shannon Cullinan announced upcoming financial measures the University will take in light of the economic repercussions caused by the pandemic.
The letter noted that the lack of students returning to campus for the remainder of the spring semester will decrease the University’s revenue stream from the loss of approximately $20 million in room and board fees, on top of the other revenue the University normally gains from campus retail outlets.
Cullinan said the University also anticipates more students applying for financial aid, a decrease in benefaction from alumni and others and a decrease in the University‘s endowment in the near future.
“All of this is made more difficult given uncertainty around the duration and trajectory of the pandemic,” Cullinan said. “Therefore, it is necessary and prudent to take additional steps, beyond the staff hiring freeze already announced, to respond to the disruption in the economy by further curbing expenses and controlling spending.”
As a result, there will be no faculty or staff merit increases for the upcoming fiscal year starting July 1 and no increases to existing salaries related to promotions until further notice.
The University will also postpone facility projects including new facilities, renovations and infrastructure improvements. The letter did not specify which projects this included but did note that some scheduled to be completed in the summer will continue.
Cullinan said all non-essential expenses should be eliminated, which was previously announced. Examples of non-essential expenses given were “new engagements with consultants, University travel, whether now or booked for the near future, conference attendance that is not essential, replacing computers or other technology, etc.”
“Our key priorities are to provide the financial aid necessary for our students, to attend to the care and welfare of our workforce and to continue the University’s central work of teaching and research,” Cullinan said in the letter.