Layoffs, furloughs to impact UD staff due to virus

NEWARK — Staff cuts and furloughs are on the horizon for the University of Delaware due to the fiscal impact of the pandemic, officials announced Thursday.

Without mitigation, the university would be facing a $250 million deficit this academic year, according to a news release.

The university has already drawn $100 million from its endowment, the release states.

“Given that we will have eliminated almost all discretionary expenses for this year, we have no choice but to turn to personnel actions,” President Dennis Assanis said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to balancing the respect and appreciation we have for our workforce with the need to respond to immediate financial pressures, while positioning UD for success in the next few years.”

The university announced that it would enact several staff-based mitigation plans. Eligible employees will have the opportunity to consider retirement. Employees may choose to temporarily scale back their work hours and their compensation. Workforce and time reductions in multiple university departments will also occur. Those decisions will be communicated to affected employees as soon as possible by their supervisors, according to the release.

These measures currently apply only to staff members, not faculty members.

“Unfortunately, over the next several weeks, we will also implement a period of unpaid leave and temporary reductions to retirement contributions for all staff,” the release states. “The details of these measures are still being determined in order to minimize the impact on employees to the extent possible.” 

The university will hold a presentation on the financial situation and take questions from the UD community at a virtual town hall meeting on Thursday, Oct. 1. 

Over the summer, the university scaled back its intentions for the fall semester, limiting the amount of students living on-campus and moving most of its classes online. 

In August, a spokeswoman for the university said that UD was bracing to lose between $75 and $100 million for the fall semester.

She attributed that to housing and dining revenue losses between $20 and $24 million and frozen tuition this year. The university is spending $10 million on safety — personal protective equipment, contact tracing, hand sanitation stations and increased cleaning. Another $20 million was spent on undergraduate financial aid, and $6 million was spent on online course delivery.