On Tuesday, the University of Virginia announced that hiring and salaries will be frozen as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. No vacancies in faculty, staff, or health team member positions will be filled unless executive leaders approve an exception, and no salaries will increase for the next fiscal year, beginning July 1. According to a statement provided by UVA Today, the new fiscal policies, including the freeze, have no effect on the university’s commitment to meet student financial need.
In addition to the freeze, the university’s executive leadership team will take a 10% salary reduction regarding their own pay. The impacted parties are University President James Ryan, Provost Liz Magill, Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis, and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Dr. K. Craig Kent. All individual schools and units, such as the College of Arts & Sciences, are expected to cut or eliminate their non-essential expenses. Capital projects will not go forward unless they are in design, under construction, or otherwise fully funded.
In a statement on Tuesday, Ryan, accompanied by Magill, Davis, and Kent, explained the rationale for the freeze, and promised to avoid job cuts for as long as possible — but remarked that the health system may ultimately have no choice.
“As always, but especially now, we must be exceptionally good stewards of our resources so that we can continue to carry out our core mission, and in so doing be of service to the commonwealth and beyond,” Ryan wrote. “At the same time, we must never forget that the people at UVA — our faculty, staff, and students — remain our greatest asset, and will be the key to our ability to weather this crisis and recover with strength.”
The financial toll of the coronavirus has spared neither UVA nor those on its payroll. While the university has not released official numbers on its monetary losses since the beginning of the pandemic, Tuesday’s statement referenced “major” revenue shortfalls from “all of its funding sources,” including research grants and endowment returns. Community outcry when Aramark Dining Services laid off the university’s beloved contract employees led to the widespread distribution of social media petitions and fundraisers, with more than $40,000 collected online for Kathy “Ms. Kathy” McGruder. McGruder worked in Newcomb Hall prior to the Aramark layoff.
Ryan addressed community hardships in his team’s statement, including the postponement of final exercises, the cancellation of all events on Grounds until at least June 30, and — with respect to the UVA Health system — “the serious financial situation they are facing because of the significant disruption to clinical care.”
“These are not decisions we make lightly, as we know they will be disruptive and difficult,” Ryan stated in Tuesday’s message. “But we are in a period of shared sacrifice, with more challenges ahead. We will meet these challenges by focusing on our core mission, by doing our best to support one another, and by continuing to look for creative solutions.”
For more information on the University’s response to the coronavirus, click here.