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Penn State Will Pay All Employees’ Salaries and Benefits Through at Least End of April

by on March 24, 2020 11:10 AM

Penn State is committing to pay the salaries and benefits of all university employees through at least the end of April amid the coronavirus pandemic, President Eric Barron announced during a virtual town hall for faculty and staff Tuesday morning.

Student workers will also continue to be paid during that time, according to a university news release.

Barron said there will be no general salary increases this year.

“Our objective here, with all this stress, is for you not to have an abrupt financial situation,” he said. “By deferring any decision until end of April, that gives us a chance to be strategic and think carefully about how the pandemic is evolving and how to mitigate its effects.”

Barron and Vice President for Finance and Business David Gray both said they expect to have a more concrete answer about the future of salaries midway through April.

Auxiliary and other units that rely on self-generated income face millions of dollars in losses, Barron said, including the university's two hotels, University Park Airport and housing and food services. Penn State's residence hall and dining operation usually serves about 20,000 students but are currently serving only about 1,200 students who are unable to return to permanent homes.

“We are concerned not only for employees, but the local communities that surround Penn State campuses that are a vital component of the local economy,” Barron said. “The University will use this time to better understand the likely duration of this event and develop a strategy to minimize the impact on employees and the communities we serve to the best extent possible.” 

In his opening remarks, Barron outlined three priorities administrators have set while responding to the coronavirus pandemic: 1) protect the health and safety of faculty, staff, and students; 2) get students to the finish line academically; and 3) address the financial health and well-being of employees and communities.

Provost Nick Jones noted several other concerns that have come up during this remote period and amid the uncertainty. In addition to not offering raises, he announced the university has advised departments not to fill new positions unless they are "mission critical" and that the university is also extending the tenure clock by one year for professors in the probationary period.

“It’s too early to be specific but it’s no question that we’ll be impacted,” Jones said. “No enterprise is immune to the deep recession we are facing, but it’s important to we promise and commit to communicate through this. Together, we will see Penn State through this crisis and emerge as an even stronger university.”'s Geoff Rushton contributed to this story.

Anthony Colucci is a writer for Onward State
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