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

Melody Conrad 
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Michael Crouchley
Sports Editor

The University of Dayton hosted two virtual town hall meetings to address the university’s current financial situation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The meetings featured President Eric Spina, Executive Vice President of Business and Administrative Services Andrew Horner, Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Paul Benson and the Vice President for Human Resources giving statements and answering questions from viewers.

Here are the major takeaways from last week’s meetings:

  • Spina could not ensure that layoffs will not occur as a result of the financial setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Spina acknowledged the possibility that in-person classes may not resume for the fall 2020 semester.
  • Some current adjustments are being made to preserve cash include a hiring freeze, cessation of nearly all capital projects and non-emergency maintenance, cessation of all new contractual commitments, elimination of all discretionary non-compensation spending, moving most buildings into a low energy usage mode and freezing all University issued purchasing cards.
  • The University is attempting to make all decisions on employee furloughs and layoffs by mid to late April.
  • For at least the next six months, the president is taking a 30% reduction in salary. Vice presidents, deans and other highly compensated unit leaders are taking a 20% reduction. 
  • OnMain is on pause as there is a capital hold from the University. The Arcade project is still ongoing but is not a significant factor in the University’s financial outlook at this time. 
  • Shifting the academic calendar back this upcoming school year could be on the table, but shortening the semester significantly would not be possible.

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Other points of interest:

  • Graduate assistant contracts will be renewed for next year.
  • Each vice president and dean will make decisions on essential work regarding furloughs and layoffs.
  • The University is strongly considering ceasing matching contributions to retirement funds.
  • Approved sabbatical commitments are still being honored.
  • Non-essential, non-tenure track faculty will have contracts delayed until mid-summer.
  • Funds donated for a specific purpose are unable to be used for anything else, i.e. avoiding layoffs.
  • No changes have been made to current tuition-remission policies.
  • Externally funded activities will be continued.
  • All tenured and tenure-track faculty will not be laid off or put on furlough.
  • Undergraduate enrollment for the incoming class looks healthy at the moment. However, the class will likely have a lot of financial need.
  • International enrollment for the next school year is likely to be close to zero unless the students are already in Dayton.
  • The possibility of starting the fall semester with remote learning and transitioning to in-class learning is being discussed but would require significant changes to the academic calendar. Some combinations of on-ground and online classes would also be possible.
  • Merit salary increases will not be offered. Promotions already agreed upon are being factored into contracts for next year.
  • Laid-off employees will not receive severance.
  • The total level of employment of adjunct faculty will be dependent on the next school year’s enrollment.
  • Furloughed employees would still be able to receive benefits if working another job, but would not be able to receive unemployment.

Last Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s full meetings are available online to all UD faculty, staff and students on Warpwire.

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