Assuring the University’s stability in critical times

April 9, 2020

To:  Faculty, Staff, and Administrators
From:  Ralph W. Kuncl, President, and the President’s Cabinet 
Subject:  Assuring the University’s stability in critical times

We write to you today with updates on our approach to financial challenges in the face of both the immediate COVID-19 pandemic and the need to assure the future financial stability of the University.

We know there are plenty of rumors circulating, and that may be understandable.  Many in our community are feeling uncertainty and isolation.  As nature abhors a vacuum, uncertainty absorbs rumors.  Some of those rumors have been like these:

  • We may not be getting full pay if we work from home;
  • We should use vacation days now if we have no work to do from home;
  • We should be using sick days now.

All those rumors are utterly false.  No one should be using vacation or sick time unless they are actually on vacation or sick.  If you hear what sounds like a rumor, please contact a member of the Cabinet to check its accuracy.

Previously, we announced salary protection for all faculty, staff, and administrators through Sunday, April 26.  Today, we announce an extension of this period through Sunday, May 31.

Our decision to refrain from using furloughs in this critical time is based on a judgment that temporarily suspending work and pay for some employees offers only limited potential savings but would produce a substantial and negative impact on our workforce in their sense of morale and security.  This commitment is possible because of careful, prudent, and responsible management and budgeting over recent years.  Our hope is that the immediate avoidance of furloughs will provide some relief to those employees and their households who face significant financial pressures due to the pandemic.

At the same time, we are acutely aware of our obligation to plan and protect the University’s ability to survive and thrive well into the future.  As discussed at the Presidential Forum on March 9, that critical undertaking about our financial future will involve bringing our expenses and size in line with our sources of revenues, as well as envisioning and investing in specific areas of both growth and distinction. 

To provide guidance in taking vital strategic action, the trustees and I will be convening a Task Force on Future Financial Health, composed of individuals from across the University, including trustees, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and students.  This Task Force will coordinate its intensive work over the coming few months with faculty shared governance groups, the Cabinet, the University of Redlands Staff and Administrators Assembly, and the Board of Trustees.  The work of the Task Force will also inform the next strategic plan, which will engage multiple stakeholders.

We will communicate the membership of the Task Force to you in the coming days.  In the meantime, we express our deep appreciation for your patience, hard work, and adaptability during these challenging times.  There are many stories to tell about your fortitude, creativity, and resilience within difficulty.  We will share your stories as time goes on.  Keep the faith in the U of R and all it means to so many.

 We wish you all health and safety.