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May 14 Chancellor Briefing: Additional cost-saving measures detailed at weekly session

This week’s Chancellor Briefing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire included an update on a new date for the 2020 in-person commencement ceremony, details on how the $2.5 million state budget lapse is being covered, and cost-saving strategies for the next academic year to meet anticipated budget shortfalls.

The plan for 2020-21 includes intermittent furloughs for all faculty and staff, ranging from 6-12 days and not exceeding one furlough day per pay period, and salary cuts for senior administrators.

Here are the key points from this week’s briefing:

  • UW-Eau Claire is sharing a number of videos and digital content celebrating the 2020 graduating class. While May 23 would have been commencement, the university is waiting to hold a formal in-person commencement until Friday, Oct. 2, during Homecoming Week. 2020 spring graduates are encouraged to return so they can cross the stage with their family and friends cheering them on. More details will be provided as they are confirmed.
  • Chancellor James Schmidt announced the university has met its $2.5 million state budget lapse by identifying savings shared proportionately across divisions of the university. Funds were saved by a combination of salary savings from furloughs, canceled travel and expense plans, strategically leaving open positions unfilled, and decreased student wages as the semester is completed virtually. The lapse was requested by the governor and required state spending decreased by 5 percent for the remaining months of this fiscal year.
  • In response to the remaining $7 million shortfall anticipated for the next academic year, Chancellor Schmidt and shared governance leaders agreed to a series of measures that were presented to the campus. These include freezing all nonessential travel, reducing operating expenses by a third (33%) and implementing individual intermittent furloughs for all faculty and staff ranging from 6-12 days, based on salary range. In addition to furloughs for all employees — scheduled to begin in August — the chancellor, his executive staff, associate vice chancellors and deans will take a temporary 6.5% pay cut, or the equivalent of 17 days of furlough.
  • A new budget calculator tool also allows the campus community to adjust individual budget metrics to formulate different budget shortfall scenarios. Users can adjust levels such as the size of a state budget cut, the impact of an enrollment increase or decrease, or the number of furlough days taken to show the corresponding budget impact.

For additional information, UW-Eau Claire students and employees can visit the “Chancellor COVID-19 Briefings” page on the Chancellor’s Office Blugold Insider site and public resources are available at uwec.ly/COVID-19. The final Chancellor Briefing of the semester will be Thursday, May 21, at 5 p.m.