March 25, 10 a.m. LIU Post, which is part of Long Island University, has
announced temporary layoffs of dozens of employees, Newsday reported. The
university did not specify how many employees were laid off, what their job
roles are or if it is committed to bringing them back when the campus opens
"After reviewing the job duties of employees who are required to work from
home, the university concluded that the work performed by some of its
employees is not amenable to working remotely," LIU Post said in a statement
to the newspaper. "Accordingly, LIU has reluctantly decided to temporarily
lay off a small percentage of its workforce for the next 30 days. The
university has committed to making no further adjustments during this period
In February, LIU Post froze new student enrollments in several academic
majors, following similar shifts in recent years. The university’s overall
enrollment declined by about 10 percent over four years, to roughly 5,500
students last year. It said the program-offering changes were an attempt to
prioritize more high-demand fields.
A growing number of colleges and universities have announced pay cuts and
hiring freezes amid the initial financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.
For example, Quinnipiac University this week cut pay for faculty and staff
members. And the University of Bridgeport recently said a budget deficit and
the pandemic’s impact will lead to staff cuts.
Meanwhile, two flagship public universities said they were committed to
paying employees through the crisis.
Eric Barron, Pennsylvania State University’s president, said Tuesday that
some of the university’s auxiliary and other units were losing millions of
dollars. But Barron said Penn State would pay the full salary of its workers
through at least April 30.
“We want to make sure that employees do not experience an abrupt financial
dislocation, and we will wait until mid-April to make any determination with
respect to any potential furloughs or layoffs that may be necessary after
April 30, in light of this unprecedented situation,” he said in the
Indiana University, Bloomington, earlier this week said it was freezing
staff hires and that faculty searches will be reviewed on a case-by-case
basis. But Michael McRobbie, IU’s president, said in a statement Monday
that staff members will not be required to use any accrued time off for
absences related to the crisis. And employees who are designated as
essential and required to work on campus will receive premium pay of time
and a half for that work.
McRobbie also thanked the university’s employees in his message:
I extend my most sincere thanks, that of IU’s senior leadership and that of
the IU Trustees to all our faculty who are working with such breakneck
speed to transform their courses to all virtual instruction. Our most
sincere thanks to all our staff who provide the myriad support services that
are making this transformation possible. Our most sincere thanks to all the
staff who are keeping as much as possible of the normal business of the
university operating. And our special thanks to all those at the front lines
of this fight — those responsible for cleaning and sanitizing of the
university, the police and other public safety officials, and our health
care workers who are working with those who have or have been exposed to
COVID-19. To all of you we express our most grateful thanks.
-- Paul Fain
Central Washington Declares Financial Exigency
March 24, 2:30 p.m. Central Washington University is declaring a state of
The public university's Board of Trustees cited issues stemming from the
novel coronavirus in their proclamation, which was first reported on Twitter
by Dan Bauman, a reporter at The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Financial exigency refers to an imminent financial crisis that threatens the
institution's survival. This declaration will let Central Washington take
unusual steps to cut costs, such as potentially laying off tenured faculty
The board anticipates that the measures the university took to prevent the
spread of the virus, such as canceling in-person classes and closing the
campus to the public, will lead to a drop in enrollment and retention. The
absence of people on campus will lead to a drop in revenue for auxiliary
services. Event cancellations will also hurt the university.
The loss of economic activity and tax revenue for the state from the
pandemic also is likely to lead to less funding for public institutions, the
board's letter said.
-- Madeline St. Amour