Letter to the Howard University Community
February 13, 2012
Dear Howard University Community:
Thank you for your continued commitment to Howard University. Together, we have laid a strong strategic foundation for the University's success, but our journey has not been without challenges. During the first half of the fiscal year, our expenses exceeded available revenue, and we were faced with other financial challenges resulting from the national economic crisis, rising operational costs, and duplication of services. In spite of these challenges, however, I am certain that together we will be able to build a Howard University that is stronger and more securely positioned to carry out its vision and unique mission.
As effective stewards, we must implement a course of corrective action that will minimally impact on our students and academic mission. The required shared sacrifices will involve several actions that must be taken between now and the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2012:
- We require that each academic and administrative support unit operate within its allocated budget.
- We will defer select proposed campus facilities projects, while assigning top priority to those needs associated with the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.
- We will review all contract services in an effort to substantially reduce the University's reliance upon them.
- We will implement a finance and information technology shared-service model to increase efficiency in those areas and avoid operational/staff duplication.
- We will reduce utilities and other operating costs by officially closing the campus, except for essential services, during the 2012 Spring Break, a period of time typically characterized by minimal facilities use. (Staff will have the option of using banked annual leave or taking leave without pay).
- Finally, later in the semester, we will consider an employment furlough for all faculty and staff on four to six non-instructional days. If it becomes necessary to implement the furlough, I will ask the University’s senior leadership to assume the greatest responsibility by taking additional furlough days.
While these actions are necessary, I am aware that they will not be easy. They will require personal and professional sacrifices from our entire community; nevertheless, I am confident in our resilience and our dedication to this great institution. The sacrifices that we are making are essential to our institutional renewal and continued success.
Sidney A. Ribeau