Board of Trustees makes announcements

Bailey Tomlinson, News Editor

Services will be closed over the summer and staff will be reduced, an email to the student body from President James L. Gaudino said following the May 15 Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting. These decisions come following a requirement by the Office of Financial Management to reduce next year’s budgets by 15%, or $9.9 million, beginning July 1.

“Regrettably, workforce reductions will be an unavoidable outcome of that order. I will honor my pledge not to make staff reductions through June 30 of this year,” the email read. “But I have directed my cabinet officers to reduce staffing levels from July 1 through August 31.”

Gaudino added that reductions in staff will be based on changing needs of the university.

“Because enrollment remains strong, I am not planning to reduce the number of tenured or tenure track faculty. Non-tenured faculty contracts will be offered or extended as the demand for classes requires,“ the email read. 

The BOT meeting agenda executive summary states that admissions officers are facing challenges in recruiting the incoming class. These challenges are listed as a decrease in high school graduates, closure of K-12 classrooms, cancellations of ACT and SAT tests, difficulty in acquiring high school transcripts, and temporary changes across the K-12 and higher education sectors. 

There is a reported increase in both applications and students admitted to CWU from last year (2,171 versus 2,532), the total confirmed student count is 14% lower than May 2019, according to the executive summary document. 

The executive summary also specifies there is currently a 3% increase in transfer student applications over the previous year, the admitted transfer student pool is down 14%, and committed transfer student pool is 21%.

Despite these challenges, according to the document, many indicators of first year student numbers are healthy.

“Although we have initiated a variety of new recruitment strategies and activities for both freshman and transfer students, it is likely we will fall shy of our fall 2020 new student goal,” the executive summary document said. “If fall 2020 term is online classes only, we will likely fall significantly short of our new student goal.”

On April 9, trustees instructed staff to come up with three scenarios that would allow CWU to prepare for the impact of the pandemic, an action plan for each scenario and timelines for each action plan, according to the BOT meeting. 

All three scenarios were required to address permanent restructuring, temporary suspension of some summer operations and cost-cutting measures, such as the hiring freeze, travel restrictions, and nonessential goods and services restriction. 

According to the email, Gaudino has required that summer classes be held virtually. He has also ordered residence halls, dining facilities, student programs and conference operations close during the summer. 

“Those decisions produce changes in staffing requirements during the two months of the summer session. Therefore, the initial notices of staff reductions will be for the period July 1 through August 31, 2020. Along with the cabinet, I will review those reductions as more information becomes available,” the document stated.

Reductions in staff can be sorted into two broad categories, cyclic leave (reductions in full time employment) and furloughs. The vice presidents will submit proposals to Gaudino, who will review them and forward decisions to human resources (HR).

“HR will work with hiring managers to notify the affected staff and to schedule advising appointments,” the email reads. “The university will honor its labor agreements and employee codes.”

The fiscal year 2021 baseline budget is nearly complete, according to the notes from the BOT meeting. It does not include any mitigation efforts centered around the pandemic. Alternative budgets will be made based around mitigation efforts after they’re determined in May or June.