October 22, 2002
Last fall, shortly after the tragedy of 9/11, I wrote to the Tulane community expressing my concerns about the economy. I called upon the university to be financially prudent until we had clarity regarding the economy and its impact on the university. Unfortunately, since last fall, the economic environment has weakened further.
The war on terrorism, uncertainty in the Middle East, the threat of military conflict in Iraq and countless corporate scandals have had an adverse impact on the economy. We are reading more and more about layoffs, salary freezes, declining endowment values and belt-tightening measures. Universities are not immune to these measures, and we are now witnessing public and private universities taking draconian actions to remain fiscally stable.
I frankly believe that belt-tightening measures are appropriate during these times but layoffs and salary freezes should only occur when other actions have failed. Tulane has not had to resort to these measures in the current environment and I hope not to take these actions unless the economy and markets worsen significantly or our other efforts to reduce expenses are unsuccessful.
Instead, I want to call upon you again this year, as I did last fall, to be as prudent as possible in all financial decisions while continuing our forward progress. We need to carefully maneuver through these difficult times, maintaining our fiscal stability without losing our momentum. I am confident that we can successfully accomplish this goal by enhancing our efforts to be financially prudent.
Accordingly, I have asked all university officers and department heads of service/administrative units outside the scope of the academic schools and colleges (i.e., Decentralized Management Concept units) to take the following steps:
- Curtail spending on travel, capital expenditures, the use of consultants and any other non-salary expenditures without jeopardizing the department or university mission.
- Stabilize the number of employees at its current level, with the salaries of unfilled positions being removed from the budget. Each employee in a service or administrative department will be receiving a copy of this plan notification.
I realize these actions could result in personal sacrifices and increased work levels across the university service and administrative areas, but I ask for these sacrifices to ensure job security for the current workforce, provide salary increases during difficult economic times, and continue our progress as an institution. We are counting on each of you in your respective areas to exercise prudent judgment to accomplish the spirit and substance of these requests.
We expect to realize significant reductions in these areas for the remainder of the year. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions on how we can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our service and administrative areas, and thank you in advance for your efforts and goodwill in implementing these actions.
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 email@example.com