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Message from President Michael Crow

January 28, 2009

I am writing to inform the ASU community that ASU will be implementing mandatory unpaid furloughs for all employees between now and June 30 to help the university cope with the severe reduction in state funding available to us over the next five months.

This decision was made after consultation with faculty, staff, students, administration and the Arizona Board of Regents.

With so little time left in the current fiscal year, the university’s leadership is confident that this is the most prudent way to address the fiscal year 2009 reductions while preparing for the additional reductions proposed for fiscal year 2010, because the furlough allows the fiscal year 2009 reductions to be shared and balanced among all the faculty and staff members of the institution.

It is important to remember that we are dealing with at least a two-year state budget problem. To put the cuts proposed by the Legislature into perspective, the two-year maximum proposed cut would reduce ASU’s per-student funding level in fiscal year 2010 to the fiscal year 1989 level in absolute dollar amount. When adjusted for inflation, we would be operating an instructional budget in fiscal year 2010 with about 50 percent of the per-student state investment we had in fiscal year 1989.

The furlough will involve all employees, including the president, vice presidents, deans, faculty, varsity coaches, academic professionals and classified staff.

The university will not close down at any time; instead, furloughs of individual employees will be staggered over different days and weeks so that ASU can remain operational and complete the academic semester on time.

The length of any individual employee’s furlough will be determined by three general job classifications:

• University administrators (including the president, vice presidents and deans) – 15 days.

• Classified staff – 10 days.

• All other employees – 12 days, except for those who do not work a full week or work less than a 12-month schedule, in which case their furloughs will be prorated for the lengths of their appointment or the number of hours worked weekly.

Depending on the length of an individual’s furlough, the salary loss would be equivalent to 8 percent to 12 percent of the employee’s remaining fiscal year 2009 salary.

Faculty members will take furloughs on days they don’t teach class, and supervisors of staff members will be staggering furloughs so that the university remains fully operational.

Employees will be allowed some flexibility in scheduling their furlough days in conjunction with their supervisor, but they are encouraged to consider scheduling the furlough days proportionally across all remaining pay periods in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Furloughed employees are eligible to apply for unemployment compensation for time lost.

The university’s Employee Assistance Program Office will be available to consult with those who are particularly hard hit by the loss of income.

Full details of the implementation of the furlough are available on the Human Resources Web site at

Through this furlough, the university will save about $24 million to help toward meeting its fiscal year 2009 state budget reduction, which could total more than $60 million. Although ASU must find additional savings to meet its anticipated cut, the furlough is intended to ensure that all enrolled students can still finish the current semester, and that those completing their degrees can graduate on time.

I want to assure all of you that ASU is committed to continuing to deliver all our academic programs to our students, to not reducing academic quality and to maintaining all of our university student financial aid programs.

We will continue working with internal groups to find additional prudent cost-saving measures that are consistent with our institutional mission.

We also will continue to make our case to the state Legislature – and to the people of the state of Arizona – that our universities are too important to our future to be singled out for the largest budget cuts.

In that effort, we have been working with and will continue to work closely with the Arizona Board of Regents and our sister institutions, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. Those institutions also are making major budget reductions, but their institutional circumstances may cause them to take approaches other than the ones we have taken.

We well understand that our state – and our nation – are struggling to cope with the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression, and that we all need to do our share of budget cutting.

ASU already has instituted a number of cost-saving measures ranging from reducing energy consumption to the reorganization of academic departments and entire schools. We have been forced to eliminate more than 550 staff positions and 200 faculty associate positions this fiscal year, and it is worth restating that we have chosen to implement the furlough to minimize layoffs, rather than cutting core academic functions or reducing financial aid or services to students.

Indeed, many of our employees have said they would prefer taking a furlough to seeing more of their colleagues laid off.

I wish to thank all our faculty and staff for their commitment to student success. The state fiscal situation is extremely serious, but it is also short-term. No matter the circumstances, ASU will remain committed to the ideals of the New American University – admitting all qualified students, providing them a high-quality education and having a positive impact on the state through education, research, economic development activity and community service.

Please rest assured that we are working every possible idea to keep the university advancing through these difficult times.

Michael M. Crow
ASU President