President David Hodge sent an e-mail Monday, Oct. 20, to the university community addressing Miami's financial situation.
As we are all painfully aware, our economy is experiencing one of its most challenging times in more than a half century. This situation greatly impacts every organization and every individual in the U.S., including Miami University. We have been working hard to assess how this will affect Miami and to develop financial plans based on the best information we have about the future. However, this planning is very difficult because of the great uncertainty that still exists in the economy. We cannot yet determine, for example, the size of the drop in our investment income that now seems highly likely. Ohio's economy is also precarious, and this will very likely have a significant negative impact on our state funding.
As we announced earlier, we will be enacting a total of $5 million in one-time cuts during the current fiscal year. (Note: the fiscal year runs from July 1st to June 30th.) Although we cannot determine the exact status of our budget situation, given the volatile and deteriorating economy, it is important that we take additional steps now to give ourselves more time to address larger budget shortfalls that now seem likely. This will help us minimize the impact on our faculty and staff and on our students' educational experience.
Specifically, we are taking four additional actions. First, we will immediately implement a hard hiring freeze for staff for at least the rest of the fiscal year. This means that no open classified or unclassified staff positions, including administrative positions, will be filled unless approved by the Vice-President for Finance and Business Services (in consultation with the appropriate vice president) and is determined to be critical to the university's health. Second, all previously-authorized faculty searches are being reviewed and a substantial number will be canceled. Third, we are re-evaluating the scheduling of all capital projects, with the goal of postponing what we can. This will lead to the delay of some projects, including the remodel of Kreger Hall and the construction of the Bicentennial Student Center, until the economic situation improves.
Fourth, in this period of financial uncertainty, we need to explore every avenue to eliminate unnecessary costs and/or to more effectively and efficiently carry out our mission by better utilizing our resources. We are asking each person who has budget responsibility to closely examine the necessity of all expenditures, and we encourage everyone in our community to seek ways to streamline and reduce unnecessary costs. To make it easier to share cost saving and process improvement ideas, and to recognize those ideas, a new suggestion Web site is located at www.muohio.edu/ThisMakesCents/ .
As we respond to the immediate financial challenges, it is vital that we remain clearly focused on our future. Our unwavering goal is to provide the exceptional student experience that Miami is known for. We will not compromise on this. In fact, even in these difficult economic times, we must strive to make this experience even better to ensure our long-term success.
Our strategic goals allow us to identify our priorities and focus our resources on those areas that move us to the future we envision. Some areas may progress more slowly than planned, but we will not lose sight of our long-term goals as we make the difficult decisions that lie ahead.
Miami University has been successful for nearly 200 years, largely because of the resilience and commitment of our faculty, staff, and students. By working together with commitment and vision, we will succeed in meeting the challenges we face today. My deepest thanks to everyone for your continuing efforts to keep Miami strong.