Faced with a budget shortfall of more than $40 million as a result of the coronavirus, Temple University has decided against furloughing hundreds of employees, the president was to announce to the campus community Monday morning.
“We understand the painful impact furloughs would have on our staff, some of whom are the sole wage-earners in their families,” Richard M. Englert was to announce. “The cost of taking such an action at this time is simply too high.”
Englert, who has worked at Temple for more than 40 years in many administrative roles before becoming president in 2016, also intends to take a 20% pay cut. He is currently paid $800,000. More than 470 nonunion employees who are paid more than $100,000 will take a 5% pay cut, and 26 officers, deans, and advisers to the president will take a 10% cut.
“If anybody is going to be affected, I’m going to be affected more so,” he said. “Hit me at least twice or four times as high as the other people who are being affected. This is what I thought was the right thing to do.”
Some other college presidents also have announced that they would forgo some salary: Robert L. Barchi, president of Rutgers, said he would take a 10% pay cut, and Pennsylvania State University president Eric Barron said he would give 10% of his monthly salary to employee and student assistance funds.
Englert said he’s not sure how long the pay cuts will remain in effect. It depends on the university’s finances.
Temple had considered furloughing employees whose jobs couldn’t be performed remotely.
“I’m sure people know we were looking at that, and we want to ease people’s concerns.” he said. “We wanted to make that absolutely one of the last things we would do.”
He said the school would maintain that commitment as long as possible.
Englert’s announcement comes as universities across the country are struggling to plug holes in their budgets after having to refund millions in room and board costs and incur additional expenses to move instruction online and deep clean facilities. Temple received $28 million in federal stimulus funds, half of which must be given directly to students in need.
The university is planning for a 5% budget cut for next fiscal year, he said. So far, students are enrolling at the university at about the same rate as last year, but university officials are unsure what the summer will bring or how much state funding the school will get.
And Temple is still working on plans for the fall. Englert said the school is working "full speed ahead” in its planning to have students back on campus if possible and the steps it will take to do that safely.