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Utica College furloughs 57 employees, takes other cost-saving measures to recoup lost revenue

Utica College has notified 57 staff members that they will be furloughed for the months of June and July.

Posted: May 12, 2020 11:42 AM
Updated: May 12, 2020 12:33 PM

UTICA, N.Y. – Utica College has notified 57 staff members that they will be furloughed for the months of June and July.

In a letter sent to faculty on May 4, President Laura Casamento said, “Because of the unprecedented challenges we face as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the major economic crisis it has prompted, there are a number of very difficult steps we must take to protect the college, preserve jobs, and meet the needs and expectations of the families we serve.”

Casamento said the college is preparing for a $7 million shortfall in student-based revenue through 2021, and the furloughs are part of a larger plan to recoup that economic loss. Other actions in the plan include:

  • Casamento will be voluntarily reducing her salary by 11% and foregoing and contractual bonuses for the year.
  • All members of the president’s and provost’s cabinets have taken voluntary salary reductions of 5%.
  • There will be a hiring freeze through May 31, 2021. Exceptions will be rare.
  • There will be a salary freeze through May 31, 2021.
  • The suspension of international travel will continue until further notice.
  • Only essential domestic travel will be authorized and must be pre-approved.
  • Any other cost reductions that do not impact academic instruction, student services, or other core-mission activities.

These measures are projected to cut operating costs at the college by $2.4 million.

“I know this is deeply concerning news, especially with regard to our colleagues affected by the furlough, and it is particularly frustrating that we cannot meet to review this in person as we ordinarily do with matters as important as this.

"The best I can do under these circumstances is assure you that this temporary workforce reduction and other cost-saving measures represent the only available means by which we can weather this unprecedented downturn and avoid far more detrimental outcomes down the road,” said Casamento.

The furloughed employees will continue to receive health coverage, and the college will pay for premiums, including the employee contribution.

The employees will also be eligible for state unemployment insurance and benefits under the CARES Act.

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