I just received an advance notice of this...
Update on Furloughs -- A Positive Step
I am writing to update you on the University's budget situation and actions to be taken on the College level to cope with the crisis.
As you know, public universities in Illinois are more than $ 735 million behind in receipt of state payments of their total appropriations for the
fiscal year. The outlook for the next year is still highly uncertain, but both the University and the College are planning for the possibility of severe percent budget cuts.
As you all are aware, the University had to resort to furloughs and a voluntary salary reduction program in order to cope with the immediate cash-flow problem this year. This is, however, not a solution that is sustainable for the long-term. The feedback that we have received regarding our current budget crisis on campus has not only been extremely helpful, but it also has confirmed what I have always believed: People care deeply and passionately about this university. That same constructive feedback led directly to a new policy that will hopefully allow us to minimize or possibly eliminate the need to resort to furloughs in the next academic year or further down the road.
I am pleased to introduce you to the University of Illinois Rental Office Budget Benefit Emergency Recovery Initiative, and to ask for your cooperation in the implementation of this program.
In the past, the university has supplied faculty members with office space, and with lighting and heating for this space free of charge. Unfortunately, our financial situation makes such generosity unsustainable in the future.
Starting from the 2010/2011 academic year, faculty members will be required to pay a modest rental fee for their offices. The annual rent will be 5 percent of the faculty member's base salary for a standard office, and 8 percent for a premium office. A premium office is defined as an office that is occupied by a single faculty member, has an area of more than 100 sq. ft., a window or other natural light source and at most minor water leakage problems.
Faculty members are allowed -- and indeed encouraged -- to seek out external funding to defray part or all of their rental costs. Options include corporate and alumni sponsorship, subletting your office at times when you do not need it, or renting out your door for advertisements.
Additionally, we will start in the summer to install electricity meters in individual offices. These meters will give individual faculty members more control over how much power they use. At this time, the exact power pricing schedule is still being developed, and we solicit your input on this issue. Additionally, please report to your Unit Executive Officer at which time you would like to have the meter for your office installed.
Unit Executive Officers will collect the information supplied by their units and submit it at the new website of the University of Illinois Rental Office Budget Benefit Emergency Recovery Initiative,
which will be online in the near future.
We realize that there are some faculty members who, while still being employed, have effectively retired from research long ago, and may prefer not to rent an office from the University. I am pleased to inform you that, instead of renting their offices, faculty may opt to take a voluntary salary reduction of 5 percent of their base salary in lieu of participation in the program if they so wish. The manner and amount of the salary reduction is the same under both options. Those opting for the voluntary pay reduction program will not have to rent an office. We are in negotiations with local businesses such as Starbucks to provide space where participants in the voluntary pay reduction program can hold their office hours.
Again, I thank you for your cooperation and understanding and reaffirm my profound appreciation for all you do to make the University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign the wonderful treasure we know it to be. With your help and commitment we will be even stronger in the years ahead.