Marshall University President Jerry Gilbert and Provost Jaime Taylor will donate part of their salaries and implement cost saving measures amidst uncertainty of enrollment in the fall semester leading to lost revenue.
“I will have my pay reduced by 15% and Dr. Taylor’s pay will be reduced by 10%,” Gilbert said during a virtual Board of Governors meeting on Thursday. “We believe that everyone is going to have to make sacrifices in the next year, and we want those sacrifices to start with us.”
Gilbert said Marshall University is planning to see a decrease of 15% in student enrollment for the fall semester, which could greatly impact the university due to tuition being a central revenue source.
“We have a core operating budget that is heavily dependent on tuition revenue, and a decrease in enrollment means less money to operate the university, it’s as simple as that,” he said.
To offset the possible decrease, recruitment measures for incoming students has been ramped up, outreach to current students has been implemented and teams have coordinated to investigate cost-saving possibilities, he said.
“Our recruitment and admissions efforts have been ramped up like never before,” he said. “Academic Affairs and Student Affairs have been using multiple means to connect with our student to assist them.”
The Budget Work Group, headed by Chief Financial Officer Mark Robinson, has been tasked with identifying ways to save upwards of $25 million for the fall semester, Gilbert said.
“Many, if not the majority, of these cost-saving items will be ones we can reverse or halt if things turn out to be better than expected,” he said.
Gilbert said he is committed to keeping the university strong financially and will not hold back progress that will strengthen the Marshall.
“I will not be stymied by fear or held back in pushing ahead with plans to strengthen the university,” he said. “There are current plans in place for the building of a College of Business building, a new physician’s assistant program and new aviation programs.”
The Board of Governors also approved a 30-year lease with Yeager Airport, and construction will begin on a classroom building and hanger, he said.
Marshall has faced adversity before, and Gilbert said he believes the university will persevere through this challenge.
“We have a history of perseverance and recovery, and I am convinced we will weather this storm and come out much stronger and better prepared for the future,” he said.
Ralph May can be contacted at [email protected]