Message from the President / Cost Reductions

To: Paul Smith’s College faculty and staff

Delivered: May 13, 2020

Dear colleagues,

As we wrap up an academic year for the history books, a heartfelt thank-you for the incredible dedication, effort and commitment you gave to Paul Smith’s students and the college during these challenging times. The past eight weeks truly demonstrated just how special this community is. Not only did we survive the semester, but in many ways, we became stronger. Through your great efforts, we pushed ourselves beyond limits we thought we had, developed new and creative approaches to learning, and showed everyone what it means to be both tough and caring. Great work!

While the semester is behind us, the pandemic is not. We anticipate being able to allow employees to return to campus as soon as state guidelines allow. Our planning is focused on ensuring we have the proper safety protocols in place for when we slowly reopen. We will let all of you know in advance when it’s permissible to return.

Simultaneously, we are planning for a challenging year to come. It is our full expectation that the campus will welcome students as scheduled in the fall. However, we are making contingency plans that include an adjusted calendar, flexibility with courses (e.g. a block schedule), and the best methods for ensuring social distancing on campus. We will be working with many of you over the summer to finalize these plans. Thanks to all of you for your willingness to adapt and participate in this planning to ensure a safe and successful academic year.

Even as we anticipate having students back on campus in the fall, this will be a challenging year financially. Many in the higher education sector are estimating a 10-20% loss in revenue due to declining/delayed enrollments, increased financial need by our students, and a volatile stock market. At the same time we are facing increased costs due the pandemic. While Paul Smith’s has many great attributes that will continue to attract students to our school (not the least of which is the safety due to the region’s low population density), we too are facing significant financial pressure.

It’s imperative that we control costs to meet this challenge. Three key approaches have been designated to help us get there:

  • The freeze on travel and other discretionary spending implemented last month remains in effect.
  • Reductions to college-funded capital spending will be in place for the next year.
  • Finally, and most challenging, we need to reduce our cost of payroll. Consistent with most organizations, this is our largest overall expenditure. The college’s leadership team has developed a plan that meets our necessary financial targets while aiming to minimize the impact on individual team members. This will be accomplished through a combination of salary reductions or employee furloughs to be implemented after July 1:
    • Highly compensated staff will receive a salary reduction of 10%
    • The remainder of staff will be asked to schedule 3 weeks of furlough
    • Faculty salaries will be reduced by 5%

It’s agonizing to share this information at a time when so many of you are already experiencing personal stress. Our goal is to protect jobs as much as possible while also adapting to our changed situation. I would like to offer my personal thanks to the college’s Human Resources team, who is standing by to help furloughed employees understand how they can access unemployment benefits, including additional benefits under the Care Act. If you are furloughed, please know that you will still be covered by PSC health insurance during that time.

This is an incredibly difficult time and I thank each of you for your resilience and understanding. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions or just want to vent. We are tough and together I know PSC will emerge from this experience even stronger.

Best,

Cathy

Dr. Cathy S. Dove, President

Paul Smith’s College

Key Contacts

Student Health Services
Abigail Fontaine, RN, BSN, Director
(518) 327-6349
afontaine@paulsmiths.edu

Housing & Residence Life
Lou Kaminski, Director
residencelifeandhousing@paulsmiths.edu
(518) 327-6488

Campus Safety
Holly Parker, Director
hparker@paulsmiths.edu
(518) 327-6300

Emergency Management
Teresa Gay, Compliance Coordinator
tgay@paulsmiths.edu
(518) 327-6451