Though he stopped short of calling it a “hiring freeze”—instead terming it a “pause”—President David Skorton has announced that no one from outside the University will be hired into non-faculty positions through March 31, 2009. In a statement released on October 30, Skorton outlined the University’s measures to control costs during the current national financial crisis. “In addition to actions already begun in response to state budget cuts, we will also take careful, collegial, and substantive actions within the contract and endowed colleges and the central administration to streamline operations and redirect resources to those programs that will contribute to Cornell’s future success,” Skorton said, noting that there will be no across-the-board cuts or layoffs.
In addition to the suspension in hiring, Skorton said, the University has instituted a “90-day construction pause to re-calibrate the University’s capital budget in order to align funding sources and uses more realistically.” Its provisions include putting projects that are not under contract for construction on hold; putting projects that are in the design phase on hold once design is complete; and halting all physical infrastructure, local transportation, and housing projects that have not yet been initiated. Cornell will also conduct “a rigorous 45-day, university-wide review of operational effectiveness, financial policies, and procedures to identify specific actions to contain costs, streamline operations, and protect the institution from unintended financial exposure, while optimizing the use of university resources.”
The administration plans to host a series of public forums as it shapes the University’s fiscal future. It has posted an online suggestion box for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to submit their ideas.