University of Oregon takes drastic action to shore up coronavirus revenue losses

The University of Oregon announced 282 employees will be laid off because of lost revenue from the coronavirus.

The decision comes after the university already took other measures like a hiring freeze and pay cuts for senior staff.

The University of Oregon recently announced that 282 employees will be laid off to address its revenue losses from the coronavirus pandemic. 

The employees work in housing, dining, and athletics, which, according to the university, are among the most significantly impacted departments because of the virus. 

“I deeply regret to inform you that we must also adjust staffing levels in some of our auxiliary departments to meet our present operational needs and address the immediate net revenue loss,” UO President Michael Schill said in a message to the UO community.

Schill added that the decision is not a traditional layoff and that UO will instead adopt an alternative that provides greater financial stability and health insurance with hopes of rehiring the staff when the pandemic ends. 

“This program—called the UO Extended Benefits Program—is designed to retain a connection with these impacted employees, with the goal of bringing them back when work returns to campus,” Schill said.

Affected employees will receive a 30-day paid notice before being enrolled in the benefits program, in which they will be allowed to apply for unemployment benefits. Schill estimated that the program, coupled with unemployment benefits, will keep employees “financially whole” throughout the crisis. 

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“Our hope is that this extended benefits program will provide some financial security and preserve the option of employment with the university until we know more about what the fall term will look like,” he added. 

According to Inside Higher Ed, other schools such as Drew University and the University of New Haven announced employment cuts. However, few cuts seem as large as UO’s since other schools have yet to announce the number of employees that will be affected. 

The decision comes after UO already instituted a hiring freeze and pay cuts on senior university staff. The school is estimating more than $25 million in losses because of the coronavirus. 

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As part of the CARES Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump, the University of Oregon will receive $16,095,946 in financial assistance from the federal government and American taxpayers.

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