UD announces more than 500 furloughs, layoffs as COVID-19 causes financial uncertainty

Photo of campus from the University of Dayton

Franchesca Hackworth
Asst. Online Editor 

The University of Dayton announced that it is furloughing 446 employees and laying off another 60, in an email to faculty and staff Tuesday.

The positions affected make up approximately 18 percent of the university’s total full-time workforce.

Officials recently disclosed that the university is estimated to lose approximately $15 million this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the stimulus money given by the federal government will not cover the financial loss.

“We have pledged to be transparent with our campus community, and that includes being open with the larger Dayton community,” said Eric Spina, president of the University of Dayton.

>> RELATED: UD officials address COVID-19 financial struggles in virtual town hall meetings 

In addition to the furloughs and layoffs, Spina took a 30 percent pay reduction in early April that will continue until at least October, according to university officials.

The university’s 990 tax form for the fiscal year ending in June 2018, which is UD’s most recent publicly available tax document, reports that Spina earned $732,364 from the university in 2017. 

It is not clear whether this was his expected salary for this year. Flyer News reached out to officials in order to ascertain what a 30 percent pay reduction would look like. 

The compensation in the 990 is the most recent public information — as a private university, we don’t comment on or disclose compensation information beyond what is in the 990,” university officials said.

Based on Spina’s 2017 salary, a 30 percent pay reduction would equate to an income decrease of approximately $219,709, leaving about $512,655. 

Senior leaders have also taken a 20 percent pay cut and, in early spring, the university enacted a hiring freeze, ceased work and deferred nearly all capital projects and halted all non-essential discretionary spending.

There will be no merit increases in pay for the coming academic year for faculty and staff, Spina said in a video message to the UD community Tuesday.

Additionally, all university matching contributions to retirement accounts will be on hold until Oct. 1.

Each employee affected has received information on filing for unemployment, CARES Act benefits and continuation of healthcare coverage.

“Check in on them from time to time, they are our family,” Spina said.

>> MORE: UD’s international students left unemployed as rent lingers 

A clearer picture of the financial and academic future of the university is not expected for several months.

The primary factor that will affect UD’s financial situation is whether or not students will return to campus in the fall. The lack of residential payments and an increase in financial aid needs that could accompany a semester with no students on campus will impact where finances stand.

Endowments are not an option as the majority of them are designated for specific purposes deemed by the donor, Spina aid. Reserves are available, but using them comes with great risk as they are a last resort option and, once used, the university will have little savings left.

“While we hope to bring back furloughed employees as soon as possible, much depends on how the pandemic and public health requirements will affect when the fall semester begins, projected tuition revenue, and what financial aid is ultimately needed by our students,” Spina said. 

The university president reminded the community that UD has experienced other disasters much like this pandemic in the 170 years of its existence.

“We experienced the Great Dayton Flood of 1913 and the flu pandemic of 1918, two events that forced the campus, then known as Saint Mary’s College, to temporarily close,” he said.

The university has pulled through unprecedented times in the past. However, Spina says we cannot simply assume all of this will work out or that UD will come through these financial challenges without being proactive and taking difficult yet necessary steps. 

“I’m truly, deeply and personally sorry that these actions could not be avoided,” Spina said to those affected by furloughs and layoffs. “I know you put your hearts and souls into this university and our students.”

A university town hall meeting is planned for next week to discuss the financial situation, why such decisions had to be made and to answer any questions faculty and staff may have.

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