RIT announces cutbacks due to economic impact of pandemic

RIT announced a number of cost saving measures designed to help it get through the coronavirus crisis. (Courtesy of RIT)
RIT announced a number of cost saving measures designed to help it get through the coronavirus crisis. (File photo courtesy of RIT)

A week after the University of Rochester — the area’s largest employer — announced hiring and wage freezes and other cutbacks because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rochester Institute of Technology is doing the same. 

In a letter to the RIT community Wednesday from President David C. Munson and other administrators, the university thanked faculty and staff for how they’ve worked in the face of the pandemic. But it also noted changes would be required because of loss of revenue as a result of the health crisis. 

“Updates from federal, state and local authorities lead us to believe that we may continue in our current state of altered operations and uncertainty for some time, the note said. Ellen Granberg, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and James Watters, senior vice president for finance and administration, also signed the letter. 

The letter said that through June 30, RIT will freeze or curtail:

  • Hiring of faculty and staff, including temporary employees.
  • Purchasing and non-essential travel.
  • Salary increases, as well as additional compensation and special assignment pay.

RIT, which has more than 4,000 employees, also plans to:

  • Halt construction projects planned for this summer.
  • Hold off on merit raises for faculty, staff or administrators for fiscal year 2021, which begins July 1, 2020.
  • Reduce the use of temporary employees through fiscal 2021. 
  • Begin furloughs for employees who couldn’t carry their jobs home or perform them on campus. They will remain eligible for medical benefits and the university will offer assistance in applying for state unemployment benefits.
  • Begin planning for graduated pay cuts over an unstated income level, with the largest salaries bearing the largest cuts, should the program be necessary. Fall enrollment will be a factor. 

“These prudent steps are being taken to ensure that RIT can maintain a strong vision for the future and continue to offer the highest-quality experience to our students. Within this context, our top priority is to provide for the long-term future of our extraordinary faculty and staff, who form the core of RIT,” the statement read. “This is new territory for all, but we will succeed together. We are confident that when this period ends, RIT will emerge with a future that shines brighter than ever.”

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