Staff Feedback on Financial Update - 6/9/2020

Employee Assembly Meeting
June 9, 2020   |   3:45-5:00PM
Financial Update Presentation: Mary Opperman, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer & Paul Streeter, Vice President for Budget and Planning
A recording of the meeting and presentation may be found on on the Meeting Detail page.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University is facing financial difficulties that include a projected increase in undergraduate financial aid, an anticipated decrease of undergraduate and graduate tuition revenue due to lower student enrollment, and a reduction in state appropriations. Today's presentation from the administration will provide an update on what further steps will be taken to address the financial challenges.

  • Members of the staff community are invited to provide feedback and comments to the presentation and discussion provided during today's Employee Assembly meeting.
  • The EA will collect the feedback to share with the reactivation committees in advance of their reports that are due on June 15, 2020.
  • Feedback and public comment are welcomed through 5:00 PM on Monday, June 15, 2020.

This page contains comments posted by members of the staff community in response to the presentation made during the EA meeting on 6/9/2020. Before posting to this forum, please read the comments below to make sure that the information you are providing is pertinent to the discussion and has not already been addressed before. Comments containing inappropriate language, including but not limited to offensive, profane, vulgar, threatening, harassing, or abusive language, are subject to removal.


** Commenting is closed.

Retirement contribution versus pay reduction

Submitted by Anonymous authenticated user on Thu, 2020-06-11 16:12 (user name hidden)

What is the average retirement contribution on the endowed side?  Some people may not contribute at all, whereas others may contribute to the maximum, so the impact will vary greatly.  I agree with other commenters that we should be given a choice of salary reduction percentage or retirement contribution elimination, if possible.  In particular, it would help couples at the University manage their finances, as both wage earners will be affected unpredictably, depending on if they are endowed or contract college.  It would make all employees feel like everyone was contributing more equally to this recovery – 10 % (or whatever percent) from everyone and it would allow those nearing retirement (who will probably be impacted more) more control in how to recover/react to loss of salary/benefits before retirement.


Voluntary Retirement Plan

Submitted by Anonymous authenticated user on Thu, 2020-06-11 15:36 (user name hidden)

To get the 6 month incentive payment + 1 year retirement contribution is there a certain age you need to be do get this?  


Worried about cuts to retirement

Submitted by Anonymous Student Role on Thu, 2020-06-11 15:33 (user name hidden)

Dear Cornell Leadership:

Thank you for your transparancey and soliciting feedback.  These are not easy discussions. 

I have concerns as an older worker about the cut to the retirement plan.  As others have noted, it's in effect worse than a 10% pay cut.  And for older workers, there is less time left to absorb the loss and rebuild in a very volatile investment environment.  And as others have noted, that potential cut is coupled with foregoing a pay increase this upcoming year. 

Is the retirement incentive an early retirement incentive, or meant for folks who are already eligible for retirement?  

Is there any information you could share about the fixed salary level under which there would be no salary reduction?  

Thank you for providing this forum.  


Enterprise unit cuts

Submitted by Vicki L. Westfall on Thu, 2020-06-11 15:19

What is the logic in cutting staff in enterprise units that are revenue-generating?  Wouldn't we want to increase activities in those units and not reduce resources? 


voluntary retirement plan

Submitted by Anonymous authenticated user on Thu, 2020-06-11 14:49 (user name hidden)

Can someone explain what the 6 month incentive payment + 1 year retirement contribution is - 6 months of your yearly salary? and 1 year retirement contribution of a percentage or of your full salary?  No clear explanation on that.


Other options to freeze retirement contributions

Submitted by Anonymous authenticated user on Thu, 2020-06-11 14:43 (user name hidden)

I know there are no right answers during such a difficult time in the world, but I agree with others that the impact to employees retirement is very real and extremely concerning to me.  Has leadership considered reducing the Endowed CURP contribution rather than stop it all together for a year?  Regarding the Contract College employees having their pay reduced, would there be a formula for them because depending on what plan/tier you are in aren’t some of the contributions based on salary?


Concerned about reductions to retirement contributions

Submitted by Anonymous authenticated user on Thu, 2020-06-11 13:29 (user name hidden)

A cessation of retirement contributions is not just effectively a 10% paycut--this is real money we'll not be receiving and those contributions are part of any reasonable analysis of the remuneration we receive for our work--but it's also a cut to a payment into our retirement funds which we can't replace ourselves, tax-sheltered, if we're maxed out on personal contributions. 10% is a pretty large paycut to start with, and taking it from our retirement contributions, which are one of the reasons I chose to come to work at Cornell in the first place, is very worrisome, to me. This is also on top of the real-terms paycut we took when SIP was suspended (not to mention a halt in career advancement with the promotion freeze). The effective paycut here is around an eighth of our real-terms remuneration for the coming year.


Staff pay and community discussion on rent

Submitted by Anonymous Student Role on Thu, 2020-06-11 13:18 (user name hidden)

I understand the need to reduce the pay of staff and faculty during this hard time, however, is Cornell also working with the community and surrounding areas regarding cost of living? Due to the presence of both Cornell and Ithaca College, rent prices do not match salaries as is. If employees who are already on the receiving end of a lower band (C or lower) have their pay reduced, the ability to pay rent and live within the Ithaca area will be greatly impacted.



students with disabilities

Submitted by Anonymous authenticated user on Thu, 2020-06-11 12:41 (user name hidden)

Can you share what the university is doing to support student with learning disabiliteis IF courses continue to be virtual?  


Students on campus

Submitted by Anonymous authenticated user on Thu, 2020-06-11 12:38 (user name hidden)

As a parent of two current students we hope classes return to campus and also understand the concern over the spread of the virus.  However, upperclassmen have leases and so many of them stayed IN Ithaca this spring with plans of returning to Ithaca no matter what happens with the classes.  Something I think Cornell has little control over.  I think the university needs to consider aggressive testing methods in prepartion for them returning and staying on campus.