Officials to take pay cut, freeze all salaries to reduce costs during pandemic

Media Credit: File Photo by Ari Golub | Staff Photographer

University President Thomas LeBlanc said top administrators' pay cut will begin on July 1 and continue until at least the end of the calendar year.

Senior officials will take a pay cut and freeze all salaries to reduce the University’s expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

University President Thomas LeBlanc said he will take a salary reduction along with Provost Brian Blake, Executive Vice President and Treasurer Mark Diaz, Director of Athletics Tanya Vogel and the deans of the schools, according to a release Monday. The changes will take effect July 1, lasting until at least the end of the calendar year to combat the effects of the ongoing pandemic, which officials have estimated will cost GW at least $25 million by June 30 and may dramatically change enrollment levels and tuition revenues.

“Many others at GW have been diligently preparing for what is to come and to help our University weather what will be more difficulties ahead, including with our finances,” LeBlanc said in the release. “In many ways, our path forward, and that of every other university, is uncharted.”

LeBlanc did not specify the size of the salary reductions.

He said in the release that he has requested all members of University leadership avoid expenditures in operations “wherever possible” to further reduce costs.

LeBlanc added that administrators will not award merit salary increases to faculty and staff this year.

“I understand this is disappointing news, but we believe it is a necessary step to sustain our operations and limit further impact on our faculty and staff as much as possible,” LeBlanc said. “We will still recognize the contributions of our faculty and staff through a performance management process this year, and these important conversations will happen in a revised and abbreviated form.”

Officials suspended most hirings and capital projects in March in response to the pandemic but have not furloughed any employees. Administrators are not planning any “immediate” layoffs or furloughs and will only do so if it is “necessary,” LeBlanc said.

“There may come a time when we will need to exercise these options, as other universities have done,” he said. “While I do not want to add to the anxiety so many of you are experiencing, I want to be honest about the seriousness of the situation in which we find ourselves.”

He said officials have convened several working groups to focus on contingency planning and will provide recommendations to administrators “soon.”

“Before this crisis, there was a need in our world for GW’s core missions of teaching and research,” LeBlanc said. “During this crisis, the need has only intensified. And despite the uncertainty of the future, we can be sure of one thing: our community will rise to the challenge and continue to raise high.”

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