The University said in a statement on Wednesday that it plans to "avoid layoffs" in the upcoming academic year despite the financial restraints that have come as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the letter, which was sent to Auburn faculty and staff from Ronald L. Burgess, the University's executive vice president, the pandemic has cost the school more than an estimated $27 million this year. Furthermore, Burgess said that the University is experiencing "lower net revenue in a number of our operations," like housing, dining and the on-campus bookstore.
Many of the original costs incurred from the pandemic were related to the University's transition to remote instruction after spring break and their refunding of some room and board costs.
As the University looks ahead to the upcoming academic year, Burgess said that the current financial model assumes that on-campus instruction will resume in the fall.
"Our financial models for the years ahead assumes that we will resume on campus instruction this fall with several methods of course delivery and that we will not have to adjust that operating model in a substantial way," Burgess said.
Even though the University will be attempting to avoid layoffs, Burgess said in the letter that they will be taking "cost-saving measures" in the upcoming year.
First, the University will forego the annual merit pay increase this upcoming year. Merit pay increases are often intended to be motivational to employees since they are raises based on an individual's performance over the previous year. The exceptions to the forgoing of pay increases listed in the letter are the ones that were previously approved promotions.
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The letter also states that the University will "heighten scrutiny of position replacements as attrition occurs."
Other cost-saving measures include deferring projects and possibly reallocating some strategic resources across different departments.
"We understand that these are unwelcome steps, and we do not take them lightly," Burgess said. "These measures are essential to Auburn's ability to sustain our commitment to our employees, students and educational quality."
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