Dear Members of the Notre Dame Community,
It has been nearly two months since we announced the move to online instruction and remote work. Throughout our 178-year history there has been one other time when students were sent home for an extended period of time. This first closure occurred on April 23, 1879, when the six-story Main Building—which housed classrooms, dorm rooms, the dining hall, the library, the laboratory, a museum and administrative offices—burned to the ground. Hundreds worked tirelessly to ensure the core of the Main Building was rebuilt and ready for the return of students in the fall.
You have responded with similar resolve, collaboration and creativity to care for our students and one another during this crisis. The current challenge is unique in that we are navigating both a health and financial crisis at the same time. As you know, we implemented a number of steps to mitigate the initial budget impact from COVID-19, including a staff hiring freeze, no salary increases for the upcoming fiscal year, elimination of all non-essential expenses, and postponement of capital and infrastructure improvement projects.
We will continue to be guided by the following priorities:
- Protect our mission of teaching and research;
- Prioritize the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff;
- Preserve our commitment to meet the full financial need of our students.
Today, we write to share an additional measure senior leaders are undertaking to respond to our ongoing budget pressures. We, along with the Provost-Elect, the Deans, the Vice Presidents and leaders in the Athletic Department, will voluntarily reduce our salaries ranging from five percent to twenty percent for the upcoming fiscal year.
Given the dramatic increase in the need for student financial aid, the savings generated from these salary reductions will be directed to a Student Emergency Relief Fund providing monetary assistance to our students. Over the past several weeks, many of you have graciously inquired about how you might assist those students who are disproportionally impacted by the pandemic. You can visit this website to learn more about the Student Emergency Relief Fund.
We are currently writing one of the most unique chapters in Notre Dame’s history. Let us remember those who in 1879 rebuilt the Main Building in just four months. May we embody a similar spirit and tenacity in response to whatever challenges we face in the months ahead. Please know of our continued prayers for you and your loved ones.
In Notre Dame,
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
Executive Vice President