YSU Administrators Take Pay Cuts, Job Eliminations Likely

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel today announced that he is taking a 15% salary cut and more than 100 administrative personnel are taking salary cuts ranging from 2% to 10% based on their salary.

In a letter to YSU employees, which was released to the public, Tressel said administrators will also see their health-care contributions rise from 15% to 20% in 2021. The salary cost savings alone near $700,000, he added.

Meanwhile, strategies are being developed “for further reductions in personnel costs, including possible furloughs, layoffs and other actions.” A hiring freeze has been imposed, all university-sponsored travel is “paused,” and intercollegiate athletics budgets will be reviewed “with projections for reductions in both operating and personnel.”

Here is the full text of Tressel’s letter:

My thanks to the faculty members who have worked so hard during this remote teaching period. Our students continue to be our focus and the faculty have made sure that instruction was not interrupted. 

As we prepare to celebrate the accomplishments of our students via our virtual Spring Commencement on Saturday morning, I wanted to update all of you on additional discussions that have taken place involving the Board of Trustees, Tod Hall Leaders and the Take Charge of Our Future Focus Groups.

I remain optimistic, in large part, due to the great work of our strategic planning team that has received outstanding input from our campus community over 18 months.

It is imperative that we continue to keep our focus squarely on the three foundational principles in our ongoing strategic planning efforts:

  • Student Futures and Lifelong Learning: Create environments that empower students to acquire intellectual and social capital to realize individual aspirations.
  • Academic Distinction and Discovery of Knowledge: Foster the development of a community that will grow intellectually, socially, and ethically in which individuals put knowledge into practice.
  • Collective Impact with the Region: Create deliberate, mutually beneficial, educational, civic, industry, and philanthropic partnerships that achieve equitable and innovative regional development.

All decisions we make must be in line with these principles. Our goal is to thrive amidst this transition and take advantage of opportunities to emerge from this pandemic a healthier university for years to come. 

Return to work: Safety and health guidelines for returning to campus have been developed and communicated to managers and supervisors. Managers and supervisors will be contacting their employees to advise them of their specific protocols and work schedules prior to their return date (no earlier than May 11). Continue to work from home and please do not come to campus unless first contacted by your supervisor.

Given the breadth of the issues before us, it is also imperative that, after careful consideration, we move as rapidly as possible to make decisions for the benefit of the short- and long-term future of the university. Therefore, we are announcing today these initial actions and other items under consideration:

  • Reductions in administrative salaries: As President, I am taking a 15 percent salary reduction. In addition, over 100 other excluded personnel will be taking a temporary salary reduction between 2% and 10% based on their salary. Total initial savings approach $700,000.
  • Increased health-care contributions for excluded personnel:Contributions will increase from 15 percent to 20 percent in 2021.
  • Personnel: Develop strategies for further reductions in personnel costs, including possible furloughs, layoffs and other actions.
  • Divisional budgets: Review of divisional budgets with projections for reductions in both operating and personnel.
  • Intercollegiate athletics: Review of budget with projections for reductions in both operating and personnel.
  • Reorganization: Seek opportunities for re-structuring across the university.
  • Hiring freeze: Any exceptions require my approval. 
  • Travel: All university-sponsored travel has been paused. 

Our promise to you: the health and safety of our students, employees and visitors will remain paramount; we will make decisions through a shared vision and understanding that all of us play important roles in the wellbeing of the university. Ultimately, the YSU Board of Trustees and the authority vested in I will make the very difficult decisions to take charge of our future in this pandemic moment. 

Be well, stay safe and Y and Proud!

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.