UD commencement

University of Delaware President Dennis Assanis addresses graduates at the 2019 commencement.

As the University of Delaware grapples with millions of dollars in losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, top administrators are taking a pay cut, UD announced Monday.

The university is also implementing a salary freeze for all employees for the next year.

President Dennis Assanis, Provost Robin Morgan and Executive Vice President John Long will each take a 10 percent pay cut.

All members of the UD senior leadership team, including vice presidents, deputy and vice provosts, deans, the chief investment officer, the executive director of campus and public safety, the chief of police, the athletic director and the football and men’s and women’s basketball coaches will each take a 5 percent salary cut.

The cuts were all voluntary, Assanis said in a letter to students and faculty.

A UD spokeswoman would not disclose the current salaries of Assanis and other top officials, keeping with the university’s long-standing policy of withholding salary information. The most recent salary data available from IRS records is from fiscal year 2018.

In that year, Assanis earned $878,236. Morgan and Long did not hold their current positions, but their predecessors earned $515,367 and $547,516, respectively.

Salary information for fiscal year 2019 should be made public later this month.

In taking a pay cut, Assanis follows the lead of former UD President Patrick Harker, who announced in 2009 he would take a 10 percent cut due amid the global financial crisis. At the time, he was the second-highest paid public university president.

This year’s salary cuts come as UD deals with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, which has cost UD $65 million. That includes the cost of transitioning to online classes, a loss of tuition payments from international students unable to travel here, providing refunds for housing and dining plans, and lost revenue from canceled events and athletic programs. Also, the university has committed to paying all employees, including part-time and student workers, through the end of school year, even though many are not actually working.

UD has mitigated some of the losses through reduced expenses and $6 million from the federal stimulus bill, but the budgetary impact still tops $50 million, Assanis said last week.

The pandemic has also hurt fundraising efforts, and the economic downturn has affected UD’s endowment.

“The imperative to preserve our core academic mission will require greater fiscal prudence in the days ahead,” Assanis said.

UD has implemented a hiring freeze and is re-evaluating some major projects. Construction projects already underway – including the biopharmaceutical and FinTech buildings on the STAR Campus, Delaware Stadium upgrades and renovations to Worrilow and Warner halls – will continue. However, projects in the planning and design phases will be reviewed to determine whether they should proceed or be deferred, and no new capital projects will be approved.

Summer classes will be held online-only, and all events and conferences scheduled through Aug. 1 are canceled.

Assanis said he is “cautiously optimistic” that students will be able to return to campus in the fall.

“Of course, we need to stay aligned with what has emerged as the ‘new normal,’ with guidance provided by our state government and public health authorities pertaining to the pandemic. As always, the health and safety of our community remain our top priority,” Assanis said. “Hence, we are assembling a task force to monitor the situation on an on-going basis and evaluate contingency plans that may need to be considered to inform both prudence and progress for the 2020-21 academic year. I will provide an update on our planning efforts to the UD community when we are more informed, in early June.”

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