Alumni eNewsletter: Gallaudet University's financial health (Archives)

President Hurwitz outlined financial challenges the University is facing and steps being taken to preserve the University for the long term In a February 25 memo to the campus community

February 25, 2010

Dear Campus Community:

Since beginning my presidency only two months ago, my Cabinet and I have been conducting a thorough financial review to ensure the fiscal health and viability of the University.

We learned that we completed last year in balance, but with an extremely small surplus of less than one-third of one percent of our total budget. We learned that our Federal allocationóthe principal source of our fundsówill be the same this year as it was last year. We learned from President Obama during his State of the Union address that he will seek to freeze discretionary Federal spending, a category including Gallaudet University, for the next three years. Finally, we learned from a U.S. Department of Education official last week that we should not anticipate Federal funding increases in coming years. Perhaps on the surface it seems that level funding should allow us to maintain ourselves; however, in reality level funding amounts to a cut since our expenses increase from year to year.

Unless we take immediate action, we will end this year with a deficit estimated to be several million dollars.

This information was shared with our Board of Trustees this past weekend. The Board properly insists, with my concurrence, that we exercise the fiscal discipline to live within our means on a year-to-year basis to maintain the fiscal health of the University.

As a result, I made several recent decisions. First, I charged a subgroup of Cabinet members to determine options for eliminating the deficit for this year while better positioning ourselves for the long term. Following recent discussion and re-discussion of a variety of options by the full Cabinet, we concluded that we must immediately reduce the number of personnel, and must also reduce non-personnel costs. In the next several weeks, we will communicate the specifics of our actions. Second, I have frozen all open positions, effective immediately, with hiring for critical positions requiring my personal approval. Because those unfilled positions were not counted in the anticipated deficit, freezing them will not help to close the anticipated shortfall, although not filling them keeps the situation from worsening.

Please be aware that I realize the actions I take will touch lives, and I ask for your understanding that in the midst of discussions of dollars and headcounts I have not and will not lose sight of the fact that we are discussing the futures of employees who have been serving our students and the University.

Sincerely,

T. Alan Hurwitz
President

The following is an email message that was sent to the campus community from University administrators on March 10 as a follow-up to President Hurwitz's previous letter:

Gallaudet Community

From: Donald Beil, Chief of Staff;
Edward Bosso, Vice President, Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center;
Paul Kelly, Vice President, Administration and Finance;
Cindy King, Interim Chief Information Officer; and
Stephen Weiner, Provost

Date: March 10, 2010

Subject: Current Financial Actions

As you know from President Hurwitz's email of February 25, 2010, a financial review of the University during the current year is being conducted. Our sub-group of the Cabinet found that in the absence of timely action we are facing a deficit of approximately $2,000,000 for the current year. The directions we have received from our Board of Trustees clearly indicate we must live within our means on a year-to-year basis.

After considerable study, we concluded, with support from the President and the Cabinet, that we would reduce $1,500,000 in spending by eliminating 40 positions, and achieve $500,000 in savings through reductions in non-personnel spending. These proportions parallel our overall spending; each division of the University was impacted by personnel reductions in proportion to the number of employees in each division.

The employees affected are now being informed that their positions are eliminated effective April 2, 2010. The eliminated positions were identified through individual and group reviews by those sending this message, and by the Directors of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity Programs.

Significant additional details regarding these actions are provided in a document posted on the web at: aaweb.gallaudet.edu/documents/President/GU-2010March-RIF-FAQ.pdf.

As directed by President Hurwitz, and paraphrasing from his referenced email: please be aware that we realize that the actions we take will touch lives, and we ask for your understanding that in the midst of discussions of dollars and headcounts we have not and did not lose sight of the fact that we are affecting the futures of employees who we now gratefully thank for serving our students and the University.


Posted: 12 Mar 2010

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