Cleveland State Issues Furloughs, Temporary Pay Cuts Due To COVID-19

Cleveland State University tower near downtown Cleveland
Cleveland State University is projecting $45 million in losses for fiscal year 2020 and 2021. [Annie Wu / ideastream]
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All Cleveland State University (CSU) staff will be furloughed for four weeks, but will remain eligible for university benefits, according to a Friday email sent to university staff announcing immediate cost-cutting actions being taken due to the financial shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

CSU staff will also see a tiered salary cut, expected to last six months. For example, CSU President Harlan Sands will receive a 12.5 percent salary reduction and staff making $150,000 or less will receive a six percent cut.

In addition, the school will freeze hiring for 70 current openings and will heavily restrict discretionary spending including supplies and travel.

These immediate steps must be taken “to address the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fiscal year 2020 and 2021 budgets,” Sands said in a press release.

“To create a stronger CSU that best prepares us for post-COVID higher education realities,” he continued in the statement, “we need to take both immediate action and plan for additional, near-term changes that reinforces our commitment to engaged learning and service to our students as our highest priorities.”

CSU has already lost $8 million in fiscal year 2020 and is projecting a possible $37 million loss in fiscal year 2021. The shortfall has been caused by state funding reductions, declining student enrollment expected for the fall 2020 semester and added coronavirus-related costs, such as moving more than 2,000 courses online.

Sands’ message to the university’s staff went out on the heels of Thursday night’s board of trustees meeting. In a separate statement, Chairman David Gunning said the board fully supports the recommendations made by Sands.

“We are confident that CSU will continue to be the anchor and beacon institution Cleveland needs to achieve our common goals,” Gunning’s statement said.

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