SF State President Mahoney addresses questions on staff and administrator layoffs (Full Interview)

How are you feeling about the layoffs and the process that led up to them? How were people chosen?

President Lynn Mahoney:

So this is without a doubt, the hardest thing I have ever done in just about 20 years as an administrator, I’ve been through budget cuts before first at the State University of New York and then at Cal State Long Beach during the Great Recession, but nothing, nothing of this magnitude.

This is without a doubt, the hardest thing I have ever done in just about 20 years as an administrator.”

— President Lynn Mahoney

We’re looking at as a university, a $41 million budget gap for this academic year. I’ve never faced something like that before. And so, diminishing your human resources is always the last dreadful thing you have to do to avoid financial calamity. So first and foremost, at the moment, I think mostly about the 131 employees who received notifications from us on Tuesday, and their families, we’re hoping that that number goes down, we will be having meet and confers with the union … So I hope that we’ll be able to get that number down in consultation with them. But my, my thoughts are first and foremost with them, and then secondarily with all of my colleagues. Because one of the great things about San Francisco State is we’re a family. And so I think there’s a lot of grieving going on. So I feel absolutely sick about it. But when I look at the numbers, and I’ve looked at them so many times, we had no choice but to make a permanent reduction in our workforce. 

When I look at the numbers, and I’ve looked at them so many times, we had no choice but to make a permanent reduction in our workforce. ”

— President Lynn Mahoney

Our next phase of this will be next week when we’re also going to reduce the number of managers on campus, the number of MPPs on campus. That’s a much smaller category, so it won’t be nearly 131, it’ll probably be closer to 12 to 15. There are only about 200 on campus, but we have to do this as fairly as possible. 

The process is driven by the collective bargaining agreement for staff. I don’t know if you want some budget numbers, and we can share on the web on the university Budget Committee website. The presentation was given the last week in August that has these numbers, we were able through a really tremendous amount of work across campus to get our budget gap down from 41.1 million to 11.1 million. And now we’re going to take a slight gamble on some better spring projections for enrollment and we were able to get the gap down to 9.1 million. And so we looked at that number and then Human Resources looks at classifications. Every lost employee is a loss to the university, but we look to minimize where those hits were. And you do it by classification, and so there’s not a lot of strategy. You can’t say, three people from this office and six people from that office and this office will temporarily shut. It’s done by classification and backing into that number of $9.1 million. And that I think, is a fair way because it’s what the staff has negotiated with the state. But it’s also a frustrating way because it’s so mechanical.

 

Are there layoffs planned for MPP’s?

President Lynn Mahoney: 

For managers, for MPP’s, it’s not a layoff, it’s a non renewal. MPP’s are not covered by a union, and so they serve, I believe the horrible expression might be at the pleasure of the president or at the discretion of the President, there’s some legal language that Bobby can get you.

We are planning for something between 12 and 15 now.”

— President Lynn Mahoney

So that’s just a non renewal, it’s not actually a layoff. At the end of the day, it’s the same thing, the employee loses their position. And so we are planning for something between 12 and 15 now, as well as a large number that we kept open, so there will be reductions there as well. In that instance, it’s been done largely with an eye toward work that we can do without now. It’s not driven by collective bargaining agreements, so we could be a little more strategic. So vice presidents have looked at their units to say, what work – and this is something we’re going to have to do in general across the university — how do we prioritize? What do we absolutely have to do, and what can wait?  And in particular, as we’re remote there are projects we just don’t have to do right now, because we’re not on campus. Or we’re not going to do now because we no longer have the funding to do them because of the economic decline. So, those have been done in a different process, but the conclusion will be the same and those letters will go out next week.

 

With my initial reporting on Tuesday, I talked to the union president who believed that it was 120 [layoffs]. I was given a pretty structured list of who exactly was laid off. I’m wondering, did that number change?

President Lynn Mahoney: 

That was just one union. There was more than one. 

We have many, many unions on campus. So I believe you spoke with probably the California State University Employees Union, the CSU. So your numbers are correct there, there were 11 staff from other unions also impacted. And again, I really hope, and I know the union has the same goal that we do here to reduce this. So we have asked to meet with them. That is scheduled now for the middle of October. We’re trying to get it scheduled sooner, we’d rather meet as soon as possible. And we are hopeful that we will get that number down from 131, and I’d like to see it go down. sizably. 

 

So how would you be able to reduce that number, and what steps would be taken?

President Lynn Mahoney:  

Because we have to do this by classification of employee, some of those laid off are not state funded positions.”

— President Lynn Mahoney

That’s a great question. So because we have to do this by classification of employee, some of those laid off are not state funded positions.

So our budget gap that I talked to you about $41 million, that’s in state funds, our general fund, and that’s composed of student tuition dollars, and our state support. But some of those people in classifications are in jobs that are funded by grants, they are not funded by us, and those jobs have the funding. So one of the conversations we will have with the union is, what to do with the positions where there actually is funding. And that could help us reduce that number. 

 

What influences the decision to hire more MPP’s, and how does the campus and the students benefit from having more administrators?

President Lynn Mahoney:  

So I think that a healthy effective campus has MPP’s (managers), staff, and faculty all working together. It actually takes all three of those groups to run a university very well. Our largest number will always be, as it should be, faculty and then staff and our smallest number in our managers. I understand and we’ll do a presentation at the University Budget Committee sometime this fall. I understand a few years ago that our number of MPPs increased. As I understand it, that was not from creating new positions. There were positions that we had as upper level staff positions — and I’m saying we, I wasn’t here — but the university was told by human resources that you couldn’t have those positions of staff — that they supervised other staff — so they had to be MPP’s. So it wasn’t that we hired a lot of new people as I understand it. We took some existing staff and their positions were revised. 

I understand a few years ago that our number of MPPs increased. As I understand it, that was not from creating new positions. There were positions that we had as upper level staff positions — and I’m saying we, I wasn’t here — but the university was told by human resources that you couldn’t have those positions of staff — that they supervised other staff — so they had to be MPP’s.”

— President Lynn Mahoney

But I will give you an example of where we have increased the number of managers on campus. Not just here, but across the CSU and even in the United States in the last decade. And it’s two areas. The first is in student success. Ten to fifteen years ago, the CSU committed to dramatically increasing its graduation rates, and it did that by funding things like tutoring centers, advising centers, centers for equity and excellence in teaching and learning. Those all need directors, they all need managers. So you will see, I know when I, for example, was at Cal State LA, we created advising centers in all of our colleges, and we hired a director for each one. So that year we hired — I think — it was six new npps to direct those advising centers. 

But if you look at the data out of Cal State LA and see how their graduates have grown, you know that was money well invested. The other area is in advancement. So our state allocation has been in decline for decades, for decades. There was a time, maybe when your parents or your grandparents went to the CSU, it was free. The state funded us, they funded us. My husband went to the UC’s, and I think he paid $125 a quarter for his UC degree. But since the 80s, it has been a steady erosion. And in fact, after the Great Recession, we crossed a really important threshold in California, and more than half of our funding came from student tuition and not from the state. Last year, we finally had bounced back over that 50% mark, and now we’re back again down to where less than half of our money comes from the state. So we’ve had to raise tuition over the years. I’m really very proud of the CSU though because it has raised it far less than any other system in the country. But the other place we had to look for funding was from our alumni and from philanthropists, and this university just closed its capital campaign. In December, we raised 157 million or so dollars for the university … That directly helps students, and I’m going to give you one example of where it’s helping students immediately. We have two generous, we have many generous alumni, but we have two that made substantial gifts to the university — both donated $25 million. One, already … we’ve hired four new faculty in creative writing and in cinema, and we have invested in dozens and dozens of students being able to conduct undergraduate research rather than have to have paid jobs. We paid them to participate in undergraduate research. So advancement, we have had to turn to our corporations, to foundations and to our generous alumni, and so that is involved in growing our advancement staff. So you’ll see over the last decade that that’s another area where there’s been growth.

 

How do you plan to address the health and safety concerns of laying off janitorial staff?

President Lynn Mahoney: 

A couple of things. First of all right now, we have fewer students, even we, you know, our enrollment has declined 11% over the last five years. So we have 3500 students fewer than we had in the fall of 15. So we don’t have as many students we need to serve. In addition, a number of our buildings are closed this fall. One of the things that I’m very proud of San Francisco State did was we took a very conservative approach to this, less than 1% of our classes are face-to-face.  So we’ve been able to close some buildings, so we actually don’t need as much staff this fall as we have needed in previous falls. But your question is about the future. What will the future look like?

We will not repopulate until we can do it safely. How that will look? I can’t answer that question yet.”

— President Lynn Mahoney

I’ve unfortunately had to say I don’t know a lot in the past since the pandemic hit, but what I will say is this, we will not repopulate this campus until I can be assured that we will be safe. I have watched what’s happening at universities across the country. And then even closer to home, I read yesterday that San Diego State has a student in the hospital suffering from COVID. So we will not repopulate until we can do it safely. How that will look? I can’t answer that question yet. I think I joined many with I’m hoping that I have that there will be a vaccine. And so by the time that we repopulate, we’ll be back to fully normal and we’ll all be vaccinating. That is certainly my goal. The best I can say is that as I learn more, I will be in touch but right now, we have very few buildings open. We have very few people on campus. I’ve been on campus several times. It’s sadly a ghost town, but on the other hand, it’s the healthiest thing we can do.

 

Another group of people that were laid off were technical support, and people have voiced concerns over doing that in the midst of an online semester?

President Lynn Mahoney: 

So, you know, I don’t think there were that many technical support people.

If there are some individuals on that list of 131 that have very specialized skills, as part of the meet and confer we can have that conversation with the union.

— President Lynn Mahoney

You know, I don’t have the list in front of me, instructional technology, I don’t think there were many people and then as well in, in Academic Technology, I’m not sure that anyone was on that list. So what we did was choose were classifications where the skills were the most transferable … That’s also a conversation we’ll have with the union. So if there are some individuals on that list of 131 that have very specialized skills, as part of the meet and confer we can have that conversation with the union. So that’s one of the reasons we want to have it as quickly as possible. But we did try to choose classifications where we can now work together as a community to figure out how we get that work done. But one of the things that we’re going to have to talk about across campus this entire year, is we still have a budget gap. We still have a sizable budget gap, because a lot of the solutions we’re employing are one time solutions. We’re saving millions of dollars in utilities because the buildings are closed. We’ve put a hiring chill in place and we’re not hiring positions that aren’t absolutely critical now, but they might be critical as you notice when we get back face-to-face. The governor has told us that we can expect two to three years of budget cuts. So we’re not out of the woods, we still have serious budget work. So one of the conversations we have to have across campus in so many different directions is we want to prioritize our educational mission. Our students have to have the classes they need to succeed. They have to have the advisors and support they need to succeed in those classes. What are the things that we may need though to do differently? Streamline, simplify, so we need less people to do it? And what are some of the things that we may just have to postpone? Or what are some of the things we may have to say San Francisco State can’t do that anymore. So we have to have some hard conversations, to make sure that the primary mission of serving our students gets fulfilled first.

 

How does the school plan to compensate for entire losses of a staff in a department, and then also, what will be done to compensate those who now have extra work because they don’t have as many staff around them.

Our goal is not to put more work on existing staff, our goal is to reinvent what we do”

— President Lynn Mahoney

President Lynn Mahoney:  

So the first thing that people have to do is work with their supervisor, work with their vice presidents so that we can identify if there is an office that  has an immediate need for support. And we may move some staff around, we’re also going to move some MPP’s around so that we can identify…we have to prioritize and support the priorities, then we do have to look at things that we may not be able to do anymore.

We’re gonna have to prioritize. And again, the prioritization will be driven by students and the needs of students. Our goal is not to put more work on existing staff, our goal is to reinvent what we do, postpone some things. Maybe say we can’t do this for the foreseeable future. But our goal is to redistribute, prioritize and redistribute, not to ask those who are already doing a lot to do more.

 

Will these positions be filled by people who you are able to pay less for those jobs.

President Lynn Mahoney:   

That’s certainly not that, no. The goal here is not to, again, layoffs were the last moment before the budgetary cliff. So no, our goal is to take a really hard look at the work we do, prioritize, redistribute, and really make some hard decisions about some of the places we put funding that we can’t anymore.

The goal here is not to, again, layoffs were the last moment before the budgetary cliff.”

— President Lynn Mahoney

This is the worst moment in a university’s history when you have to reduce your workforce. And so there should be hard questions and there’s a tremendous amount of pain. But I do want to say this, San Francisco State is not going anywhere. We may not be big a university as we used to be at 30,000. But 27,000 students, we’re a pretty big university. We are not laying off any of our full time faculty. In fact, 31 or so new faculty just started this fall. So I want to assure you and students that this is painful for the staff impacted for their colleagues for all of us, but that the San Francisco State is still going to be a great place, which is we’re going to have some short-term challenges, but we will remain a great university for students.

 

If enough staff members take a voluntary time reduction, will it help mitigate the layoff notices that have already been sent out, or is that more of a way to prevent future layoff notices?

President Lynn Mahoney: 

The latter. As I mentioned to you, millions of dollars of what we’ve done to solve this year’s budget gap, we won’t be able to sustain particularly if we return to face to face. So any of the savings that we affect this year, will help for next year. And I am going to implore each and every person who works on campus, not to reduce their time base but to really rethink the work that we do, what has to happen, what can we prioritize? What can we not do now, and the more we can achieve savings that way. I hope never to have to approach layoffs again.

 

So when you talk about hopefully having less layoffs than the 131, those reductions would come from people who were employed on grant money, if I’m following you correctly?

President Lynn Mahoney: 

That’s a conversation we have to have with the union. So I do not want to presume what their position will be. But we’re, again, we have that scheduled for October 16. For the union with the 120. We’d like to do that sooner if their schedule allows for that. And so we can have a conversation with them about grant funded positions. We can have a conversation with them about positions that are highly skilled positions, as you mentioned, but I don’t want to presume what their position will be on any of this, but we want to have that conversation with them.

 

What were the deliberations like with the chancellor’s office? Did the administration reach out to the chancellor’s office?

President Lynn Mahoney:   

We asked if we could do that campus based and the union asked and we were told no.”

— President Lynn Mahoney

So I, the administration, did reach out to the chancellor’s office, as did the Union. The union and I were on the same page about this. Was there an option for the campus to just have campus based furloughs? So not all CSUs issues are equal. The Southern California campuses have no enrollment problems. In fact, they’re over enrolled. So it was our double whammy of the state cut of 20 I think was 22 million, and then our projected revenue declined from tuition of 16 [million]. It was the two combined that got us to layoffs. Whereas Cal State Long Beach is, or Stanislaus State, they’re over enrolled. So we asked if we could do that campus based and the union asked and we were told no, that we are legally one university, the California State University. So any, any kind of unilateral action to reduce compensation has to be done centrally. I also talked to them and along the same lines about furloughs just for MPP’s or even reductions in executive compensation for the cabinet? And again, the answer is the same as one legal university if you’re going to make an across the board change in compensation to an entire classification, whether it’s represented or an MPP. It has to be done centrally. And I know I speak for my union colleagues as well as others, there’s a lot of frustration that we couldn’t have more campus based solutions beyond layoffs and restricted spending at the campus level. So I will continue to push because again, this is only the first year of a budget cut unless something miraculous happens in the state of California. We’re going to get another budget cut next year, and I’m going to continue to push for mitigations like furloughs instead of layoffs or any mitigations reductions in compensation for managers. Anything that would help us mitigate layoffs, but again, when legally we’re one university when it comes to compensation issues

 

Are faculty jobs at risk?

President Lynn Mahoney: 

I have no plans to pursue layoffs for full-time faculty. There were lecturers this year who had their course assignments reduced and some who may not have gotten work, but that’s a function of our declining enrollment, not layoffs. Again, our enrollment is down 11% in the last five years, and it was down over 7% from fall 19 to fall 20. We have 2000 fewer students this fall. That’s primarily international students and freshmen. I’m happy to say that our continuing students have come back in very healthy numbers and that fills me mostly because getting your degree is the single most important thing you can do as you face the uncertain economy over the next few years. So yes, there were some lecture appointments that were reduced. But that was a function of we just need less classes. But no, I have no plans to pursue layoffs for the full time faculty.

 

Do you have any predictions for spring?

President Lynn Mahoney:  

I expect sometime in the next week or two that the CSU and San Francisco State will make a decision about spring. I think a number of us have been quite saddened to see the outbreaks in places like Chico State and San Diego State … I’m very frustrated when I read in the newspaper that my colleagues across the country are blaming students. If we bring students back to campus in large numbers, you will hang out together. I know you will. That’s fun, and it’s wonderful. So I think we, as an institution, have to make sure that we are locking you in your rooms and having security guards at res. hall doors, I won’t go there. That’s not an education. So if things continue that trajectory they’re on, I would say it’s highly likely that spring looks just like this fall. I mean, it’s killing most of us to not be together, even when I’m on campus, you know, my desire to hug the students is, you know, to stay six feet away. But we’ve had four cases of COVID, it’s Francisco State, and all four have recovered. So at the end of the day, this will be worth it, I just appreciate all the feedback students have given us and to help make this a better remote experience. And I’m really appreciative of the faculty who’ve worked hard to figure out how to do this as well as they can. So right now, David, my guess would be the spring is going to look a lot like fall. But we have not confirmed anything and we hope to have that news out in the next week or so or two.

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Reader Questions from Xpress’s live twitter Q&A, Instagram and comments on the original story:

 

“I am one of the 120 that were notified of the layoff. The layoff is highly problematic as there were employees laid off whose positions are grant funded or tuition based and separate from the campus budgets. Essentially, they’re not state funded. What’s worse is the way in which we were notified. The email regarding voluntary work reduction arrived 30 minutes prior to the way off notice prompting false confidence as it stated that the affected had already been notified, which is not true.”

President Lynn Mahoney:   

So again, we’ll go back, we’re going to meet with the union, I’m hoping October 16, at the latest and hopefully sooner to have a conversation, among other things, the grant funded basis of the grant funded positions, the timing of the time based reduction. I can’t speak to I don’t have the details, perhaps we can follow up with the AVP for human resources. I will say that all of our process was driven by the collective bargaining agreement. It has strict rules about what we do. And so but again, I want to defer to AVP Ingrid Williams, who I’m sure would be happy. If you want to get the questions to Bobby. He can get you those specific answers.

 

“I’m still confused as to why I got laid off after having worked for the school for 12 years. I lived through the last furlough and understood if it needed to be done to save jobs. We didn’t even get the chance to do that. And it feels like punishment for not having high enrollment numbers.”

President Lynn Mahoney: 

The furloughs are a system wide decision, and I asked repeatedly and the union asked repeatedly, we can’t do campus based furloughs. And so we had to resort to layoffs. 

 

“How is the number of layoffs going to decrease?”

President Lynn Mahoney: 

Then we’ll have a conversation with the unions about grant funded positions about highly skilled positions. And that will occur in a meet and confer with the union that is currently scheduled for October 16. But we will meet sooner if it is possible. So those kinds of positions will get reviewed.

 

“Is she aware how bad it looks that most of California state employees have taken pay cuts while the CSU has not?”

President Lynn Mahoney:  

Well, that, again, essentially done so the count of some of the employees across the state, it was in the governor’s budget. And so the governor did that centrally here. It has to be done by the California State University centrally. And so I will continue to ask, but I don’t have the individual autonomy to do that. Because we’re one university with 23 campuses, right?

 

“Why would SFSU lay off employees from facilities maintenance painter and building service engineer when there’s already less workers and the infrastructure and maintenance issues have compounded over years due to poor leadership and financial mishandling and facility services?”

President Lynn Mahoney: 

So again, layoffs were done by classification. So it wasn’t a specific area that was targeted. And now the vice presidents are going to have a lot of hard work to do with their managers and their employees to make sure that the necessary work gets done. And again, that might require that we don’t do other work. This particular year fall were helped by the fact that our residence halls are sadly almost all closed and empty and our business buildings, a good number of them are closed and the ones that are open are minimally used. We’re going to have a conversation about what to do when we go back face to face. But one of the things that we’re hopeful for is when we come back face to face, of course, is that students will be able to live in housing. So we’ll have more n and we’ll have our freshman class will be larger again, but we’re gonna have some hard work to do to make sure we meet our core mission with your people.

 

“What is happening with the reserves that the state directed CSU’s put to use before firing?”

President Lynn Mahoney:  

So there’s a lot of confusion about reserves — and again, on the University Budget Committee [website], there’s some information up there from an earlier meeting, and there’ll be another presentation — when people talk about how the CSU had, I think it was the number was $450 million in reserves, that was not money located in the Chancellor’s Office – that is reserves across 23 campuses and the Chancellor’s Office. On our campus, we have $14 million of that, and then we identified another $8 million in other unallocated funds for $22 million. So we’ve committed —  or maybe it’s $21 [million] — we’ve committed to using about 35% of that this year, knowing we’re going to have to use another chunk of it next year when we get another budget cut. So there’s a lot of misinformation, or confusion, about the reserves. They are not monies that the chancellor just has and can give out to each of us. It’s our own monies. And I know people have asked why other CSUs aren’t helping those with an enrollment decline. You know, no CSU is adequately funded. This is my third. My previous two did not have enrollment challenges, but they were not well-funded either. Again, it goes to having kept our tuition reasonable and to having declining state support. So even for those campuses that don’t have enrollment challenges, this is a painful moment. So we are using, I think it’s 35% of our reserves this year, we will be prepared to use another percentage next year, and then we’re trying to get those reserves to extend over three to four years because the governor has told us we’re going to get more budget cuts.

 

“Why are many frontline workers being laid off before those of school [administration officials]?”

President Lynn Mahoney: 

Well again, we are going to also non-renew 12 to 15 administrators. And again, we went for – you know, we had to get it to $9.1 million. And so we used classifications with larger numbers. Again, there’s no painless way to do this. Every single person who works on campus is valued and needed. So at the end of the day, however we slice this, it was going to be painful.

 

“Are you worried about alumni relations with those being laid off?”

President Lynn Mahoney: 

I worry about the campus morale, I worry about… I worry about a lot of things, but we’re going to have to, again… I think most people understand that this is an extraordinary moment. We’re dealing with the largest public health crisis in over 100 years, and the economic devastation wreaked by how to control the pandemic is unlike anything any of us have ever seen. I mean, people are now talking about a great depression. So I think many of our alumni and supporters of the university, first of all, I think they’ve gone through this in their own homes. I’m on the mayor’s Economic Recovery Task Force, I’m also on the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and yesterday I saw I’m also on the workforce investment board for the city. And yesterday I saw numbers; you know, we’ve got record unemployment across the city, the region, the state and the country. So I think most understand it. I think we’re going to have to prove that we are, in fact, the fabulous place — I know we are — [the question] is how we now move forward to ensure that our students continue to have a world-class education and  great experience here. You know, one thing to remember is that remember, I’ve told you that that enrollment has been declining for five years. In an ideal world, I would time travel, I’d go back five years ago, and I would tell people, “Slow down hiring. Slow down hiring so that five years from now we have a workforce that reflects our reduced student body.” But five years ago, I’m going to say five years ago, no one saw this coming, and I’m going to say I didn’t see this coming in February. I thought the pandemic, we’d be remote for a month or two – certainly never fall. And I didn’t see restaurants being closed for months on end. I mean, I think none of us predicted this. We are in the most challenging of times, and this sounds trite. I mean, it’s just, it still underestimates it. And I think most people know we have to do some extraordinary things in the next few months [and] years.

 

“Hi, President Mahoney. I wish to ask how much of a pay cut you and other top administrators will be taking during these times. It is my understanding that you earn over $300,000 per year as president with a $60,000 housing allowance. Although I know that the pandemic is a lot more work and stress to top administrators, I strongly feel that a temporary pay reduction for you and others making big bucks is only fair. The power in your job does not come from how much you get paid. The respect me and others in our community have for you isn’t based on how much you are awarded.” 

Please consider this point, a third-year undergrad.

President Lynn Mahoney: 

Well, thank you for the question. And again, I’m going to go back to the same thing: I did pursue that with the Chancellor’s Office. It cuts an executive compensation, and again, that is not something on an individual campus [that] I have the latitude to do. Any kind of across-the-board cut in compensation, even if it’s temporary, which is an effective furlough, I do not have the latitude to do on an individual campus. And I will tell you that when the cabinet was meeting to discuss layoffs…  uniform support for a pay reduction. But again, I can’t do that uniformly. I do not have the latitude to do that as an individual issue.

 

President Lynn Mahoney:  

And let me just add, again. Sadly, this is not a one-off budget problem. We’re going to get a reduction in our state budget next year. The governor has already told us that. We’re already committed to an advocacy campaign so that that reduction is as small as possible, but we have been told to expect it. So I will continue, as we discussed this as presidents and as the California State University system, to put reductions and compensation on the table for executive compensation.

 

President Lynn Mahoney:   

Can I just say a couple of other things? And we can get your numbers on this. I am very well compensated. I am compensated beyond what I ever thought I would ever earn when I became a lecturer in history, but many MPPs make less than our full-time faculty. So I hope that we don’t paint an entire group with the same paintbrush. So there are MPPs who make less than an assistant professor makes, so we just have to be a little sophisticated there. The other thing is, MPPs are a fraction of our budget – [a] fraction of our budget. They are the smallest number, they’re the smallest of our employees, even though I individually again make a tremendous amount of money. My vice presidents do as well – not what I make, but they are also well-compensated. It’s a tiny percentage. So I know people have thrown around, “Eliminate the administrators.” Well, if we eliminated the administrators, we wouldn’t have an effective university. We have to work together – employees, staff, faculty and administrators. But it’s a small number of people, and Bobby can get you some of those numbers too if you’re ever interested.

 

Students want to know about tuition, and “why are we still paying for the gym and this high tuition?”

 

President Lynn Mahoney: 

So the first thing is, your tuition does not actually cover the cost of your education. The state support pays about half of that, about half of it. The other thing to keep in mind in terms of tuition is remote instruction is no less expensive. We’re still hiring all of those faculty, and in fact, we’ve had to invest in professional development for faculty, we’ve had to buy laptops for people, we’ve had to help students with access. So that’s the tuition issue. Then the question is about fees like Mashouf … but I’ll talk about Mashouf in specific. So we have reduced the Mashouf fee, but no, we have not eliminated it because the majority of that fee does not pay for the service of using Mashouf – it pays for the building. About 50% of the fee goes directly to the debt. It’s a mortgage – that building is mortgaged. And so it goes to the debt. Another I want to say about 20%, and again Bobby can give you a link to this, another 20% goes to other things related to the physical building. So we have to pay the debt and we have to keep the physical building standing. About 30% go to the services. So we were able to reduce that number by half. And so then we have very minimal services and there’s some, we could take some virtual classes and things like that. But most of those kinds of fees go to the physical building because the state didn’t build that building. It’s a self supportive building. But Bobby can give you a website that breaks down each fee and shows you how much goes to debt service and that nature.

 

President Lynn Mahoney:   

Let me just say again: this is not going to diminish your academic experience. And we are going to work hard this year to make sure that it doesn’t diminish your overall experience. We have to prioritize your access to classes, your academic success, your engagement with the community, with the university. So this is really bad and it’s horrific for the 130 people affected. But you can be assured that there are going to be a lot of people making sure that you still have spectacular experiences.

 

Is there anything that you want to say in general to the people that were laid off that haven’t been specifically mentioned? 

President Lynn Mahoney: 

I emailed them all individually. If we were on campus, I would meet with them all individually, but I did email them all individually. This is, you know, with the exception of universities where there are health outbreaks and people are dying. This is the hardest thing a university does. And I know this is going to be impossible for people to believe but I deeply value everyone who works here and the contributions they’ve made, and so to have to do something like this in the current context is horrible. I hope that they most have 60 days notice, that they take advantage of our employee assistance program, take advantage of project professional development programs, anything we can do to help them build what they need to do for their next opportunity. Let us know what we can do. And there’s very little I can say, to mitigate this pain. I’ve said I’m sorry, several times that we’ve ended up here. And I know that’s not satisfying. You know, my real my real hope is two things that we drive that number down, that it doesn’t remain 131, that I speak with you at the end of October and it’s a lower number, and that we work as hard as we can as a community this year, so that we do not have to have this conversation.