University of Wollongong is facing a budget shortfall of about $90 million linked to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and its ongoing impact on student recruitment.
UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings is taking a pay cut of 20 per cent effective immediately for the next 12 months.
In his letter to staff, Prof Wellings also announced all Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Executive Deans and the Chief Operating Officer have also decided to take a pay cut of 20 per cent for the next 12 months.
"The census date has now passed and I am writing to advise you that the University is facing significant revenue loss because of reduced onshore international student enrolments and associated impacts," he said.
"We think that the 2020 losses will be with us for a number of years as a consequence of the scale of the recession and the limitations on the movement of people across international borders.
"At this stage we believe UOW is facing a budget shortfall of about $90 million linked to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and its ongoing impact on student recruitment. This not only has an immediate impact on our 2020 budget, but has compounding effects for subsequent years."
Prof Wellings also told staff all non-essential external recruitment (not attached to external funding) will cease.
"In addition, study leave applications approved to date will be reviewed to ensure each remains financially and academically viable in these unusual circumstances. No further approvals will be made for study leave for the remainder of this year or for 2021. We will also not be proceeding with the academic promotions round for 2020 with these to re-commence in 2021," he said.
At this stage we believe UOW is facing a budget shortfall of about $90 million linked to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and its ongoing impact on student recruitment.UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings
Prof Wellings told his colleagues they had to act fast to influence outcomes in the medium term.
He said given the current public health restrictions there will be no return to normal in 2020 or 2021.
"It is essential that we take measures to safeguard our institution from the growing economic impact to ensure the sustainability of our university," the departing VC said.
Prof Wellings added that he was hopeful that a national framework will be established between universities and unions that will aid discussion about variations to working conditions that will curb costs and preserve employment for as many staff as possible
"I fully appreciate the ramifications of the above measures, however they are essential if we are to sustain our operations and to ensure that UOW has the necessary capacity to continue to be a research-led and globally recognised university," he wrote.
"The choices we make in the coming weeks will influence all of us. History will show whether we moved swiftly and cohesively to keep the shape of an institution which is so important to the social and economic future of NSW."
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