Chancellor Wrigley email to USG, May 1, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Your hard work has continued to keep all of our 26 institutions and the University System Office (USO) accessible and responsive in an extraordinary time, even as you have had to juggle your own personal challenges. I am grateful and proud of the way each of you has responded to our rapid shift in operations.

The challenges thrown at us by the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented. The health and safety of our students and employees are our greatest priorities.

As you are aware, the state of Georgia is facing a significant drop in revenue from the coronavirus that has caused the news I must now share.

Today, the state Office of Planning and Budget, House Budget and Research Office, and Senate Budget and Evaluation Office directed all state agencies to develop new spending proposals for fiscal year 2021, which begins July 1. In doing so, all agencies including USG must submit proposals that include a 14% reduction of their base budget.

I have instructed all institutions and the USO to prepare a plan to address these 14% reductions. These plans must be submitted to the state no later than May 20th.

 This will not be easy work. We have asked everyone to be strategic in their approach to meeting this reduction, therefore across the board cuts are not permitted. Our priority continues to be helping our students complete a college education. Our mission is more critical than ever as we take a leading role in helping all Georgians recover.

Right now, institutions are only submitting plans to address the 14% reductions for FY21. It will be some time before we will know the specifics of these plans and how they will be implemented. Among actions that may be taken include furloughs and layoffs. Additionally, we are placing a hold on all vacant positions not deemed essential, and remain committed to a critical hire process for the few that are. We will be faced with some uncertainty until the FY21 budget is adopted and approved

The state will continue to monitor the financial impact of COVID-19 and adjust as circumstances require.   

Any budget plans submitted to the state must also be finalized and approved by the Georgia Legislature, and signed by the Governor.

I know this is hard news to hear. Please keep in close contact with your supervisor for further guidance and if you have any questions. We will provide updates as quickly and as transparently as possible. 

Above all, know you are making a difference at a critical time for the University System. There is no question this will be tough. But we will get through it, and be stronger. Thank you for all you do to support our students and the state of Georgia.

Sincerely,
Steve W. Wrigley
Chancellor