Campus Update

The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed the following from Chancellor Michael Alexander to faculty and staff on Thursday, May 14, 2020.

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

Each day, I am exceptionally proud to work for the faculty and staff at UW-Green Bay. This University is an amazing place with incredible people. The way you continue to respond to the unprecedented challenges that we have faced over the last two months is truly overwhelming. However, despite our best efforts, we still have many unknowns and financial hurdles that we must clear to make it through the current crisis.

To this point, we have deliberately been slow in announcing furloughs in the hopes that our path through the crisis would become more clear. Unfortunately, it has become apparent that we must take some preventative measures to be able to better ensure the long-term health of our institution. These are painful decisions, particularly because of the immense work that everyone on this campus has done to put us on solid financial footing before COVID-19.

In order to remain fiscally responsible, we must find ways to offset the 5% budget lapse that we will need to give back before the end of this fiscal year. In our case, it will likely amount to approximately $1.4 million. As a result of the furloughs in May, we were able to conserve approximately $250,000. In June, we will widen the scope of our furloughs to reach approximately $360,750. All staff that will be furloughed in June should have been contacted by their supervisors as this memo is being sent. In order to reach these higher savings, all staff with an annual salary of $70,000 or more will take a minimum of two intermittent furlough days for the month of June.

There is some better news to report. As a result of our work leading up to the virus, furloughs in May and June, promising signs on the enrollment front, and the work of our task force groups, we intend to bring everyone back to work on July 1. We will still encourage telecommuting where possible, but will lift general restrictions on faculty and staff being on campus and provide details regarding the safety measures we will take for those that want or need to return to the campus to get their work done.

However, because of the risks that still lie ahead, we must also enact furloughs from July through December and take other measures to reduce our financial exposure moving ahead. The furloughs over those six months will be across the board and unlike earlier furloughs, will include faculty when they are back on contract in August. They will not include limited term employees or ad-hoc instructors. The furloughs are also tiered to ensure that we are protecting the bulk of our campus as much as possible from additional financial harm from the virus. The plan below will save the campus a projected $466,080 in the first six months of the next fiscal year.

The entire campus will take a furlough day on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020, the day after Thanksgiving. Below is the projected total number of assigned furlough days (inclusive of Nov. 27) and the projected savings:

Salary Range # of employees Days Total Days Savings
150,000 + 9 9 81 72,500*
100,000 – 149,999 32 6 192 82,680
70,000 – 99,999 89 4 356 103,700
69,999 – below 567 2 1134 207,200
Total 697 1763 $466,080

(*includes a voluntary salary reduction)

Additionally, we will be offering specific VSIP (Volunteer Separation Incentive Program) in the coming weeks. The VSIPS are voluntary and will be offered to individuals by area leaders based upon expected long-term savings to the institution. Finally, while we hope program revenues will return in the fall, we must reserve the option to take additional cost saving measures for units on campus that rely on program revenues in the event that we are unable to generate any income due to the impacts of COVID-19. This would be a last resort and only done to protect the core mission of the University, which is to offer instruction to students. These areas could include units like Union/Dining, Residence Life, University Recreation, Weidner Center, and Athletics.

The anxiety and disruption caused by COVID-19 is real, but so is the resiliency of this campus community. We will get through this, with some sacrifice no doubt, but also by forging ahead in the most positive and responsible way possible. Our community is suffering right now. I know I am asking you all to sacrifice due to no fault of your own. However, the potential consequences of not being able to navigate successfully through the current crisis are immense, not just to UW-Green Bay, but to our capacity to support a more equitable and sustainable future for our students and our region. I say this knowing that we have the people to get us to the other side of this. We will do so united, and with determination, empathy, and the fierce belief that our mission and vision matters to our students and to the future of our region and state.

Sheryl Van Gruensven, Kate Burns, and I will answer your questions about what I have written above and talk further about our academic plans when we meet together at the Coffee Break Q and A, tomorrow (May 15, 2020) at 8:30 a.m. Please join us if you are able. Please take care of each other and I look forward to talking with you soon.

Warmest regards,