President Dr. Robert C. Robbins has implemented the new Financial Sustainability Emergency Response Taskforce in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on the University of Arizona and its future.
According to an email sent by Robbins announcing the taskforce on March 30, the outlook for the future appears to be extremely challenging with the anticipation of a significant loss of revenue and increased expenses due to COVID-19. It will work on mitigation strategies to best handle the short-term and long-term financial effects caused by COVID-19 in all aspects of the UA.
The taskforce is composed of seven working groups that represent the university community, led by an Executive Team that oversees the decisions based on the recommendations made by these groups. It is headed by Senior Vice President for Business Affairs and CFO of the university, Lisa Rulney, who also serves on the Executive Team.
Upon reaching out for an interview, a representative for Rulney told the Daily Wildcat she was too busy for an interview at this time.
The workgroups are Capital Projects, Debt, & Investments; Intercollegiate Athletics; New Opportunities; Operational Efficiencies; Strategic Plan Investments; Workforce; and Students. All of these groups have the priority of supporting their specific community within the university along with the university’s mission while working to constrain costs.
The taskforce has already taken action in line with their promise to work quickly and start taking action in changing the financial model.
Within a week of establishing the taskforce it was announced by President Robbins and Human Resources that the first strategy approved by the Executive Team was the immediate pause to hiring and any type of job changes.
According to an email sent out by the university’s Division of Human Resources, there will be temporary changes made to hiring practices in effect until June 30, which is subject to extension.
These changes include the discontinuation of new hire, rehire and job change transactions, offers of employment and new requisitions. For hires currently in the process, scheduled interviews are directed to be canceled or suspended until further notice and should be communicated with applicants as such.
More recently, following this announcement of pause in job changes, President Robbins announced a furlough plan for all UA employees. This furlough and pay reduction plan will roll out May 11 and continue through June 30, saving the university and estimated $93 million per an email sent by President Robbins.
According to Robbins, these first steps of action will assist greatly in painting a clearer picture of the next steps necessary to alleviate the impact on the university.
“We need to be prepared, knowing these kinds of sacrifices will best position us to successfully weather this tough period. Together, we will see that the University of Arizona adapts well to the world post-COVID 19 and thrives again,” Robbins wrote at the end of the email sent to staff.
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