University of Connecticut President Thomas Katsouleas announced a freeze on spending and increased regulations on hiring as the university faces budgetary uncertainty due to COVID-19.
Katsouleas said university officials are planning for financial situations ranging from “moderate to worst case.”
New non-faculty hires will require the approval of the president, provost or executive vice president for administration, according to the policy. Faculty searches that have already been approved can continue. The policy also calls for contracts to be reviewed for necessity.
“Contract renewals should be reviewed to determine the necessity of the expenditure, and the risk to the university of not renewing the contract,” the policy said. “New spending should be undertaken only for a necessity under current context.”
Contracts for goods and services that already exist will continue, according to the policy, which excludes UConn Health.
While there is uncertainty surrounding when the pandemic will subside, Katsouleas said it is clear what the financial repercussions will be.
“One thing that is clear is that there will be significant losses to overcome — not just at UConn and in Connecticut, but globally,” Katsouleas said. “If we do this right, the new normal will be an advance of our mission and an advance of our institution in a relative sense.”
Katsouleas said during this time research productivity is still available, with new data and perspectives.
“There is a massive amount of new data for social scientists, humanists, business and law scholars to give us new insights into our collective response to a global crisis and how it differs from those in the past,” Katsouleas said.
Katsouleas remains positive for what will come when things start to return to normal at UConn.
“If we do our jobs right, we may emerge more resilient than ever,” Katsouleas said. “If we are intentional and creative about connecting our curriculum to understanding and addressing the emergent challenges the world faces, we can empower and motivate this generation of students and educators to use their knowledge for the greater good.”