U. of Oregon Furloughs Hundreds of Employees

University of Oregon campus
Rick Obst/Flickr

The University of Oregon has announced that hundreds of its employees will be furloughed due to revenue restrictions over the Chinese virus pandemic.

University of Oregon President Michael H. Schill recently announced that 282 employees will be furloughed in order to address “the immediate net revenue loss” during what are “far from normal times,” according to his statement posted to the university’s website.

“We are all facing uncertainty and unprecedented challenges as we work collectively to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Schill in his statement on Monday.

“In total, our auxiliary operations project a loss of more than $25 million in net revenue for the spring term, including approximately $3.4 million in student fees that were refunded due to facility and operational closures,” added the university president.

The decision to furlough employees arrived after the school had already taken other measures in response to the Chinese virus, such as implementing a hiring freeze, as well as pay cuts for senior staff.

“We have taken a number of steps to immediately reduce expenses and prepare for future financial uncertainty,” said Schill. “We enacted a hiring freeze, which will remain in place indefinitely.”

“In addition, all senior leadership — vice presidents, school and college deans, and the athletic director — have taken a minimum six-month 10 percent pay reduction,” he added. “I have taken a 12 percent reduction.”

The employees affected by the furlough will be those working in housing, dining, and athletics, as these jobs have been particularly impacted due to the university’s decision to move to remote education over the Chinese virus, resulting in the departure of thousands of students from campus.

“We normally house and feed more than 4,500 students; fewer than 225 currently live on campus,” said Schill.

“We have closed the Student Recreation Center and substantial portions of the Erb Memorial Union,” added the university president. “Our athletic teams and venues are dormant because of the cancellation of spring sports.”

Schill added that affected employees will be enrolled in a program — called the UO Extended Benefits Program — that is “designed to retain a connection with these impacted employees, with the goal of bringing them back when work returns to campus.”

“Our hope is that this extended benefits program will provide some financial security and preserve the option of employment with the university until we know more about what the fall term will look like,” said Schill.

“This is not our first challenge, nor will it be our last,” continued the university president.

“It is very possible that we will face an enrollment decline in the fall and/or a cut in state funding, and we will need flexibility to preserve the institution’s long-term viability,” he added.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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