Town Hall 052120

Annotations of University Town Hall 05/21/20

Present: David DeCenzo, Travis Overton, Dan Ennis, David Frost, Carlos Johnson


Disclaimer: The below annotations and timestamps are for reference only, compiled by volunteer staff. The below are for reference only.


David DeCenzo Introduction (00:33 – 8:04)

  • 2:21 | Approximately 15% enrollment decline. More information next week (5/25)
  • 2:48 | Timeline for Personnel Decisions
    Special Board of Trustees Meeting for Tuesday, May 26 to lay out entire plan for budget shortfall to board, to review before going to State HR for approval (hopefully by 5/29).
    First week of June to notify affected employees.
    • “…Our work is quickly coming to an end on that [budget plan] with making some hard decisions about how we ultimately are going to deal with approximately a 15% enrollment decline for the fall semester, as well as the associated revenue loss that that's going to account for us.
      We will have more information for you about that hopefully next week. Our plan is, at this point, to finalize our documents. We have a special board meeting called for Tuesday of next week, at which time we will lay out the entire plan to the board. Again, the purpose of that is to make sure the board understands what we will be taking to the state HR.
      After the board has seen it [the plan], we will be submitting it to state HR awaiting their final approval, which we hope we will be able to get some time by the end of next week. Assuming we get that approval by sometime the end of next week, then our goal is beginning the following week is notifying affected employees of what those decisions are and what has been approved by the state.”
  • 3:37 | Hope that in 10 days, there will be some additional guidance.
  • 4:21 | Aim to open in the Fall with on-campus classes. Early June to lay out what we have moving forward.
  • 4:54 | Presidentical Search Update: on indefinite hold. Updates from Board Search Committee will be conveyed to faculty and staff in the future.
  • 5:37 | Discussion of Process for Cost Cutting Committee:
    • Committee will review suggestions, conduct cost analysis, and then make recommendations. List of suggestions goes to Executive Council for final review.
  • 7:12 | Phase 3 (further reductions) will be determined by actual enrollment numbers in the Fall


Questions (8:48 – 1:15:00)

  • 9:07 | Other universities in the state have extensive plans in place. What are CCU’s plans?
  • 10:19 | Is the 15% projected decline a 15% decline in first-time students or 15% overall enrollment?
  • 11:15 | If enrollment is up more than 20%, will you start calling staff back before the Fall opening?
    • DeCenzo: Employees affected by the Reduction in Force will be the first ones called back, should their position be re-instated.
  • 12:40 | Ennis discusses initial considerations for the Fall schedule.
    • Ennis: University pursuing a flex model, so that instruction can move online fairly rapidly. Maintaining opening day. All decisions are driven by public health interests. Discussions on Thanksgiving conclusion of face-to-face instruction happening over the next week. Hoping to have a plan for the [Board] meeting in June.
  • 16:01 | Assuming a 15% enrollment decline, do you anticipate the need to layoff faculty?
    • DeCenzo (17:49): There will be furloughs. Furloughs are the method of implementing pay cuts, and there may be some voluntary pay cuts (additional furloughed days). Terminations are determined by the reduction in force. University has already gone through probationary employees and a few others.
    • David Frost (18:37): Looking at reducing operating costs in a number of areas, including reduction in travel, utilities, and other items. 80% of university expenses are payroll/personnel.
  • 19:40 | In a previous live stream with Dan Ennis, it was mentioned that the university will be looking at cancelling majors with low enrollment. Any idea when those majors will be notified?
    • Ennis (21:07): No active plans to cut majors.
  • 21:58: At the 15% enrollment decline, would there be an across the board payroll cut, and if so, how much?
    • DeCenzo: The General Assembly has authorized up to a 20-day furlough, which is 7.5% pay cut.
  • 22:37 | Is the president going to take a 10% paycut like the President of USC?
    • DeCenzo: If there are 20 furlough days, I will take 40 (15% pay cut). Talking with VP-level employees on campus to volunteer additional days as well to effectively cut 10%.
  • 24:53 | How will the university accommodate individuals who are part of high health risks, and might not feel comfortable coming to campus?
    • Johnson: Employees will ask that they submit for accommodation, as they would for any other medical or physical health situation that impacts their ability to do their job. Further guidance is forthcoming on the HR website.
  • 26:53 | DeCenzo revises CCU position on testing.
    • DHEC is not recommending testing, as they believe it is not a good measure. DHEC’s recommendation is that there be ample testing available for those exhibiting symptoms, discusses quarantine of positive test results in faculty and staff, and contact tracing.
  • 30:38 | Discussion of safety protocols in mask wearing and sanitation.
  • 33:35 | The Coastal Comeback Plan is under development by the Task Force, and the specifics will be outlined in that plan.
  • 34:14 | Logistics of masks will be examined as part of the Comeback Plan.
  • 34:35 | Specific questions on how the Comeback Plan will be implemented should be directed to VPs, available in the Executive Council Listing.
  • 36:26 | The Department of Education announced that there are new regulations regarding Title IX and how Title IX is managed on college campuses. Will there be an announcement that is forthcoming on that?
  • 37:35 | What does a 15% reduction of enrollment mean in dollars?
    • Frost: “The 15% reduction in enrollment is based on our current year just ending would be a $21.2 million shortfall on tuition and fees. We’re also anticipating another $2.4 million reduction in our state funding. WE’ve been advised that could go down by as much as 15% as well. Our total shortfall would be around $23.7 million.
      Our Board [of Trustees] has challenged us and tasked us to find a reserve as well, so we will be looking for $25-26 million worth of reductions to accommodate the shortfall in enrollment and stte funding, and to have some cushion.”
  • 40:02 | Are current new building projects on hold?
  • 40:57 | Would the pay reductions as a result of furloughs be permanent?
    • 41:26: Furloughs do not affect base salary.
  • 42:20 | Are tenured faculty included in the reduction in force plan?
    • DeCenzo: A 15% reduction in enrollment would not affect tenured faculty members. If it is above 15%, or above 20%, then “everything is on the board.”
  • 43:00 | Furloughs/pay cuts would be implemented next fiscal year (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021). Looking at spreading it out, so that there is only one furlough day per pay period for the first 20 pay periods. There are other options, as people could request that it be all at once, but the university will ensure that it has the least impact.
  • 44:48 | Should all event planning be put on hold for Fall at this time?
  • 46:36 | Why not have mandatory or random testing?
  • 48:21 | Has the faculty load been increased to a 4-4?
  • 50:33 | Faculty senate continuing to meet, Staff Senate holding monthly drop-ins and sending out bi-weekly e-mails.
  • 52:30 | A specific plan and document regarding furloughs is coming out from the Board of Trustees
  • 54:36 | Class action suit against USC
  • 57:26 | Furman University is eliminating several sports teams. Are cuts to sport teams also being considered at Coastal?
    • DeCenzo (57:42): Yes.
  • 57:53 | Do we have the capacity in our health center to handle quarantining and isolating students?
    • DeCenzo (58:11): We may have to hire additional individuals to increase health center capacity.
  • 60:15 | How will we handle hurricane season in conjunction with social distancing?
  • 63:30 | What is the timeline for approval for tuition waivers for CCU courses?
    • Johnson (63:54): Waivers are currently being processed. Determinations will come in the next couple of days.
  • 65:30 | The furlough plan will be discussed by Board of Trustees next week, and then has to be approved by the Division of State Human Resources. After their approval and input, we will be able to provide specific answers.
  • 66:13 | Will the President support a professor dismissing students not following safety rules?
  • 71:01 | Has a determination been made on August Commencement?
  • 72:15 | Discussion on Teal/CCU Masks