UD to lay off or furlough more than 500 employees

Pandemic will affect timing of fairgrounds, Arcade projects, as well

The University of Dayton, one of the region’s most important employers, will furlough about 450 employees and lay off an additional 60 employees this summer, the university said in a campus-wide email Tuesday afternoon.


Further, the COVID-19 pandemic’s unfolding financial consequences may delay but will not derail community projects that depend on UD’s participation, including redevelopment of the Montgomery County fairgrounds and the planned occupancy of a key business hub at the downtown Dayton Arcade, the university said in its just-released message.

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Employees affected by the furlough and the layoffs were notified this week, UD said.

These recent actions are in addition to other belt-tightening moves the university took earlier this spring, including a hiring freeze, ceasing work on and deferring nearly all capital projects, and halting all “non-essential discretionary spending,” the university said.

“In early April and through at least October, senior leaders took voluntary 20 percent pay reductions, and I have taken a 30 percent pay reduction,” University of Dayton President Eric Spina said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Tapping into the university’s endowment isn’t a viable option, he added in the statement. Portions of the university’s endowment are restricted by donors and the board for specific purposes, primarily financial aid for students, he said.

“The university does have unrestricted reserves, but since we don’t yet know how revenue will be affected during the next academic year, we understand that these important reserves may be needed at that time to fund our fixed costs and keep the university in operation,” Spina said.

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UD’s 2018 endowment was just over $567 million, according to U.S. News and World Report.

UD remains committed to the redevelopment of the former Montgomery County fairgrounds, a project it has taken on with Premier Health, “but the timeline will be affected,” Spina added, without saying how the timeline will be affected.

Additionally, while Arcade developers work toward completion of that project, UD is prepared to take occupancy and begin the 10-year lease for The Hub Powered by PNC Bank planned for the Arcade, although that may not be until later, in 2021, UD also said.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

A university spokeswoman told the Dayton Daily News that university officials will have more to say about the situation Wednesday. No interviews were granted Tuesday.

The pandemic has already severely impacted university finances, including $15 million in housing and meal refunds and credits to students when UD went to online learning after March 23, UD’s message said.

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“In moving to online learning and canceling on-campus events for the summer, we reduced tuition and will not receive any revenue from room and board, conferences or other typical summer activities,” Spina said.

Looking ahead, the university said its “strong preference” is to be “fully residential” when the new full academic year begins in the fall.

“The university has been in close contact with state officials and public health officials throughout the coronavirus emergency and continues to seek their guidance about how to keep our faculty, staff and students safe and healthy,” UD said in a statement shared with the Dayton Daily News.

“The pandemic has already undermined our financial plans for this year, upended projections for next year, and poses a significant threat to all of higher education,” UD added. “In addition to unanticipated costs this spring, we expect a decrease in revenue this summer, and face great uncertainty surrounding revenue for the coming academic year.”

Before the pandemic, UD had about 1,000 faculty members, full- and part-time, and about 2,175 staff members between UD and its Research Institute.

UD is not alone. On April 20, Wright State University said in its own campus email that administrators there are accepting pay cuts, freezing contracts and capital projects, and leaders there may eventually consider a workforce reduction.

With enrollment down due to the global pandemic, state government has recently informed leaders of Wright State to prepare for a “significant reduction in what is remaining of this year’s state share of instruction,” Wright State said in its email last week.

Refunds or credits due to students exceed $3 million and summer enrollment has been hit, resulting in a “decrease of 17 percent” for summer enrollment, Wright State said.

As a result, WSU President Sue Edwards, with the university provost, vice presidents, vice provosts and deans have “voluntarily agreed to take a 20 percent reduction in salary,” WSU said.

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