Dear Members of the University Community,
Due to grave revenue shortfalls in the University budget associated with COVID-19, on Tuesday, October 27, the Executive Committee, acting on behalf of the Board of Trustees, directed that the University suspend its contribution to the University’s retirement plan effective for the November 6, 2020 payroll and extending through June 30, 2021. Even as it took this step, the Executive Committee expressed its firm hope/intention of restoring the money to the retirement plan when the University’s finances are back on solid footing after the crisis of the pandemic has passed.
As you know, when we entered the 2021 fiscal year the University faced a budget gap in the amount of $105 million. As you may also know, as a result of vigorous cost-cutting, the University was able to trim approximately $96 million from that figure. Even after taking these actions, however, the University still faced a stubborn $9 million gap in the budget. The Board of Trustees has taken this step in an effort to minimize other actions that could have a more direct effect on the core mission of the University. These actions could include faculty, administrator, and staff furloughs—actions that many other colleges and universities, including 16 of the 27 AJCU institutions, and New York schools including Barnard, Syracuse, and Rensselaer, have already taken. (Note the New York Times article “Colleges Slash Budgets in the Pandemic, With ‘Nothing Off-Limits,’” published on Monday.)
There are no means to accurately predict the course of the pandemic, nor the effect it will have on Fordham’s operations and finances in the months to come, even after there is an effective and universally available COVID-19 vaccine. However, the University continues to closely monitor every development that could have an impact on its community and mission, both now and in the future.
The Board of Trustees and the administration deeply appreciate the dedication, resilience, and resourcefulness of the faculty, administrators, and staff in serving our students during what we know is a very stressful period. We are committed to meeting Fordham’s educational mission while supporting our faculty, administrators, and staff as we navigate this difficult period together.
Chair, Fordham University Board of Trustees
Joseph M. McShane, S.J.