*Published on April 21, 2020*
Dear faculty and staff colleagues:
The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the normal patterns of human life with breathtaking speed. Almost overnight, together we have been thrust into a new, remote, and often fearful reality. Some in our community are directly suffering from the virus. Many others have been harmed by the immense economic dislocation, anxiety, and isolation this new reality has imposed.
In this time of worldwide hardship, we know that many of you are wondering how Northeastern will continue to move forward. Our answer is, just as we always have: by doubling down on our mission of learning and discovery. It is our steadfast belief that the solution to the planet’s greatest challenges—including this one—is the light of new knowledge.
A decade ago, the global economy was upended by a financial collapse that pushed many institutions to the very brink of survival. Yet faced with many of these same threats, we made a deliberate decision not to retrench. Instead, we dramatically strengthened our teaching and research enterprise—setting the university on course to realize unparalleled excellence and success.
Today, we are announcing a series of prudent, responsible actions designed to ensure that Northeastern not only weathers the current crisis, but emerges stronger and more resilient. We take these steps from a position of financial strength—much stronger than we were a decade ago:
Faculty and staff salaries: The annual merit, bonus, and salary increase program for faculty and staff will be deferred until the economic picture becomes clearer. The promotion process for full-time faculty will continue.
Hiring: Just as we did during the Great Recession, faculty hiring will continue. For staff hiring, only positions deemed essential will be filled at this time. Decisions on essential staff hiring will be made on a case-by-case basis by the relevant senior vice president.
Campus construction: We will evaluate all capital projects and pursue only those that are essential for health and safety or that specifically advance our mission. All other projects will be suspended until further notice.
Non-essential expenditures: We ask that all departments forego expenditures and significant financial commitments that do not directly impact teaching and research.
As an important proactive step, we are launching new funds to support Northeastern students who are experiencing economic hardship as a result of this crisis, and to support Northeastern research programs focused on combatting the effects of the pandemic. Each senior vice president will contribute 10 percent of his or her annual salary to these funds. The university’s academic deans will do the same. The president will donate 20 percent.
We invite all members of our community to join us in supporting Northeastern’s Covid-19 Resilience Fund—an initiative that will benefit our students and the world.
The weeks and months ahead pose many unknowns. We are actively preparing and developing plans for every contingency. As always, we will keep you up to date on significant developments.
With every crisis comes opportunity. While our first priority will remain the health and safety of the Northeastern community, this extraordinary moment should prompt our most innovative thinking and light the fire of our collective imaginations. We are confident that when the current crisis subsides—and it will—Northeastern will emerge stronger than ever.
Joseph E. Aoun
Senior Vice President for External Affairs
James C. Bean
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Kenneth W. Henderson
Chancellor and Senior Vice President for Learning
Diane N. MacGillivray
Senior Vice President for University Advancement
Ralph C. Martin II
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Senior Vice President for Finance and Treasurer