By: Caitlyn Freeman, Assistant Editor
Photo by Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight
Illustration by Meghan Hudson, Editor-in-Chief
Towson University announced a temporary pay cut to high wage-earners exempt staff and faculty. This pay cut spans between 2% and 10% depending on annual salary, and will be implemented to those earning an annual salary of $150,000 or more.
This announcement falls in alignment with the University System of Maryland’s (USM) same day press release which stated that each of the universities within the USM umbrella would be unrolling plans to cope with the negative fiscal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Potential actions include reductions in operating expenses, cuts to capital spending, use of reserves, hiring freezes, furloughs, temporary salary reductions, and/or layoffs,” USM stated. “In making these decisions, USM leaders have committed to minimizing as much as possible the impact on students, employees, and academic programs.”
In a campus-wide email sent by the University, it disclosed that President Schatzel will take a 10% reduction in pay, and the Vice Presidents will receive a 5% reduction.
“Those earning between $150,000 and $199,999 will have a temporary reduction of 2 percent and those earning between $200,000 and $375,000 will have a 5 percent temporary reduction,” the email reads. “Any individual earning more than $375,000 will have a temporary reduction of 10 percent.”
The University previously implemented measures to reduce financial strain on students, which included refunds in the dining plan, housing, parking, and a 10% reduction on mandatory fees. The University has also implemented a hiring freeze, stopped university-sponsored travel, and prioritized COVID-related expenses.
“This was not an easy decision and was made after much thought and consideration,” the email reads. “We believe this plan demonstrates an appropriate level of financial sacrifice by the university leadership to help navigate the financial challenges we face as a university, while ensuring the overwhelming majority of faculty and staff will not be affected.”
According to USM’s press release, they project a $500 million dollar financial deficit when compared to the Systems original FY ‘21 budget.
“That budget gap is in addition to the roughly $230 million in COVID-induced losses the USM experienced in FY 20, when the System refunded a portion of students’ room, board, and fees following the spring transition to remote instruction,” the press release reads. “The FY 21 deficit includes a $130 million cut to the USM’s state appropriation.”
In order to combat the fiscal deficit, the USM Board of Regents voted to allow USM Chancellor Jay Perman and Presidents at the institutions to take individual measures including furloughs and salary reductions.
“We understand what a painful and truly unprecedented time this is in higher education. The pandemic’s impact on the economy is felt in every state,” said USM Board of Regents Chair, Linda Gooden. “The board embraces the hard work and diligent planning of USM Office leadership in collaboration with the presidents and budget leaders at all of our campuses.”