April 15, 2020
Dear Tulane Community:
Your response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing short of heroic. This includes, first and foremost, our healthcare professionals who are caring for COVID-19 patients and our researchers who are working tirelessly in the pursuit of tests, treatments and a vaccine for this global health threat. But it also includes faculty and staff throughout Tulane who have spent their days (and often nights) coordinating the countless demands and details involved in depopulating a major university and then reimagining and reconstituting its operational, academic and research missions remotely.
While, thanks to you, we have been successful in this massive and historic undertaking, the COVID-19 pandemic has created economic turmoil on a global scale and financial challenges and tremendous uncertainly at institutions throughout the world, including Tulane, for both the short and intermediate period. Now, to preserve our core teaching and research missions, to continue to pay all benefits-eligible members of our community, and to support students who will have greater financial need as a result of this pandemic, we must at this time take the following steps:
I. Salary freeze: There will be no merit increases for Fiscal Year 2021. Pay increases associated with faculty promotions will continue. Any other salary adjustment requires the approval from the Provost and Chief Operating Officer.
II. Faculty and staff hiring freeze: Faculty searches and hiring for staff positions are frozen. Exceptions will be made for hires essential for our clinical, research or educational mission, and all exceptions require approval from the Provost and Chief Operating Officer.
III. Continued pay and benefits for faculty and staff: We continue to provide salary and benefits for our regular full-time and benefits-eligible part-time faculty and staff.
IV. Continued pay and benefits for Sodexo employees: Sodexo has informed us that they will continue to provide salary and benefits for food service workers and custodians directly employed by them through the end of the spring semester.
V. Discretionary spending: We are evaluating all discretionary spending in all operating units of the university. Working together, we seek to significantly reduce the amount of discretionary spending at the university for the remainder of fiscal year 2020 and for fiscal year 2021.
VI. Pause on capital projects: Except for Richardson Hall and related moves, lab renovations, and classroom renovations, all capital projects are paused at this time. Also, no new capital projects should be submitted for review and approval at this time.
VII. More need-based financial aid: The above steps will allow us to reallocate much-needed financial resources to need based aid for students whose families are financially impacted by this pandemic.
These measures were only enacted after much thought and thorough consideration. While these steps are in line with those taken by our peers around the country, we know that some of them, nonetheless, will cause disappointment and distress. As we learned, in these type of situations, making difficult decisions early often averts more painful choices in the future. In this spirit, and in the spirit of Tulane, we write this – always mindful of and grateful for your support and dedication.
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer