Coastal Carolina University just completed Phase Two of their three-phase plan to stabilize the University’s budget, which included a reduction in force (RIF) of 36 staff positions, according to CCU officials.
“Within the past few weeks, the University took significant steps toward stabilizing the Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget, putting in place mandatory and facilitating voluntary furloughs for our faculty and staff. Additionally, CCU received authorization from the South Carolina Division of State Human Resources (DSHR) to implement another critical and extremely difficult measure – a Reduction in Force (RIF) plan that eliminates positions across the campus,” said CCU’s Chief Communications Officer and Associate Vice President of the Office of University Marketing and Communication Martha Hunn.
The layoffs took effect July 15.
“While we know this measure represents a very necessary reduction in the University’s expenses, we clearly understand that, more than anything, this represents our people of CCU who, along with their families, will suffer the stresses of losing their jobs,” CCU President David DeCenzo said. “We would never have anticipated Coastal Carolina University would experience such a tough period, but this global pandemic continues to impact our very way of life, and has certainly tested and challenged us like no other event in Coastal’s history.”
In May, the university released its Coastal Comeback Plan to return to in-person instruction this Fall.
“The process, policies, procedures, and protocols by which we will return to full operations is guided by our regard for public health, our determination to best serve our students, and our commitment to protect the health and safety of the University community,” according to their Coastal Comeback page of the school's website.
In April, DeCenzo outlined the steps that might be necessary to get their budget back on track, including evaluating their operations, reducing payroll, reducing expenditures, and other cost-reduction measures.
According to Hunn, the General Assembly authorized the University to implement these larger scale reductions, which included furloughs and the RIF plan.
My Horry News reported earlier this month that the furlough plan began July 1, 2020, and is scaled as follows: salaries between $33,101 and $33,600 will take one day; those between $33,601-$34,350 will take five days; those between $34,351 and $35,000 will take ten days; those between $35,001 and $35,750 will take 15 days, and those above $35,751 will take the full 20 days.
The furlough days must be taken during the 2020-2021 fiscal year, and the university has also developed a Voluntary Furlough Program for those interested.
The school hopes to save around $7 million through the furlough plan.
Phase Three of the university’s plan, officials say, once CCU has a better handle on what Fall 2020 enrollment will look like, they will evaluate possibilities to accommodate their actual enrollment numbers in terms of operations and payroll.
In June, CCU Provost Dr. Daniel Ennis told the Horry County Higher Education Committee (HCHEC) he was confident that a strong recruitment effort will “hopefully help us rebound, if not by next fall, then into next spring.”
DeCenzo said during the HCHEC meeting that when the school announced it would open in August, school officials saw more students committing to come back for in-person instruction.
Having a plan is good, DeCenzo said in June, but uncertainties abound.
“It’s a well-thought-out plan, but those plans can change in a heartbeat,” he said. “We’re hopeful that enrollment will be such that we’re going to be able to make up the revenue shortfalls that we’re anticipating.”