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Governor Lee's Request for a Budget Reduction Plan

Dear Faculty and Staff:

In an effort to keep you fully informed as we move through this challenging time, I want to share that late yesterday I received official notice from the TN Higher Education Commission (download PDF) indicating that Governor Lee has requested that we prepare a 12% budget reduction plan for the coming fiscal year, secondary to profound economic losses related to COVID-19. As a reminder, our upcoming budget cycle runs from July 1 through June 30, 2021. Additionally, please be aware that the Legislature has not yet approved a budget. We will likely not have a final budget until the end of June. As has been shared in previous correspondence, we anticipated a budget reduction and have been preparing accordingly. As you are also aware, we already have a hiring moratorium in place. We will still be filling targeted, critical positions in the coming year, consistent with the strategic direction and plan for the University. Review and approval will be required at the President’s Council level. Hire dates will likely need to be deferred to help capture savings to offset some of the budget gap in the coming fiscal year.

Given the magnitude of the proposed reduction, it will take our collective effort to manage the impacts strategically and continue to provide high quality academic programming, impactful research and critical support services for our students and community. We will engage the Staff and Faculty Senates in initial conversations, along with deans, chairs and program directors, with the goal of forming a taskforce to review options and make recommendations to senior leadership. All budget reduction recommendations will keep our strategic initiatives at the forefront, recognizing the importance of not just maintaining the momentum we have built over the past few years, but moving forward in a definitive manner. I will keep you updated on a regular basis as we develop plans and respond to this latest challenge. 

Again, please be aware that we do not yet have a final, approved state budget. As this process moves forward, I will keep you fully informed and provide details as they emerge. Please know that we are well positioned to respond to this request for a budget reduction plan, along with each and every challenge this coming academic year will present. 

Be safe, and stay healthy.

Regards, 

Dr. M. David Rudd
President, University of Memphis