Last week, I wrote the campus informing everyone that while we had not received details on next year’s budget, we had started to plan for options to better prepare for possible reductions. To date, we still have not received information on specific cuts, making it necessary to plan for different scenarios. The big unknown is whether federal stimulus money will offset potential cuts resulting from the pandemic.

Until we get some clarification on this, we are exploring various budget scenarios. Ultimately, the final decisions will be determined by clarity on our budget resources along with our obligation to meet contractual deadlines.

The Provost and I have met with the Personnel & Budget Committee numerous times over the last few weeks and prepared them to plan for several levels of possible cuts. I trust that our academic administrators, in consultation with the Chairs, will make the best decisions possible presented by the different scenarios. A cost of instruction analysis that was developed over the last year and shared with the Deans and Chairs will help inform determinations on where instructional and staffing changes could be most strategic and cost-effective.

As we all know, this is an unprecedented situation with continually changing information across several fronts. Consistent with our Governance Plan, I will continue to consult with P&B. Members of my administration and I will accept invitations to meet with other governance committees to provide updated information, listen to suggestions and concerns, and incorporate ideas into our budget plan. I will also continue to hold town halls to provide updates and get feedback from our entire campus community; as well as continue to provide updates in my regular communications.

I understand that this is a time of stress and anxiety, compounded by the prospect of budgetary cuts. I also know that we are a strong community and will work through these difficult times. I will keep you informed as the picture inevitably changes. Thank you all for your continued dedication to our students during this difficult time.

By William J. Fritz