In a message on April 5 to faculty and staff thanking them for their hard work, creativity, and can-do spirit during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 said he and other senior leaders will give back a portion of their salaries as Dartmouth takes steps to address the effect the economic downturn has had on the institution’s finances.
On April 3, Provost Joseph Helble and Executive Vice President Rick Mills announced a series of immediate actions Dartmouth has put in place to address reductions in revenue and increases in expenses as a result of the health care crisis: There is a freeze on staff hiring; ongoing faculty searches will continue if funding has been earmarked for the positions; there will be no wage increase other than those required by union agreements, and reductions in non-compensation spending will be reduced.
In addition, Dartmouth has received a sizeable increase in financial aid requests and has lost room and board revenue for spring term as courses have moved online. Also, philanthropy is expected to decline, and the institution’s investments have lost value as a result of the sharp decline in financial markets.
President Hanlon said he and his wife, Gail Gentes, have decided to give back 20 percent of his salary for the next 12 months, giving the funds to the Dartmouth College Fund. The fund, which is part of the institution’s operating budget, goes largely to financial aid, which Hanlon says is a critical need at this time.
Helble and Mills have also said that they will give back a portion of their salaries.
In the email, Hanlon praised faculty members for their speedy adaptation to remote teaching. “I’m in awe of all you’ve done to mount compelling virtual courses for our students in such a short amount of time, and of how committed you’ve been to finding new ways to achieve academic excellence when our model’s been turned upside down. You’ve not only kept our students front and center through it all, you’ve kept us grounded in our mission,” he wrote.
He said he is hopeful about scientific research to develop COVID-19 tests, new therapies, and vaccines in Dartmouth’s laboratories. And he lauded the health care workers in the Dartmouth-Hitchcock system who are “tackling this pandemic head-on.”
He commended staff who have partnered with faculty to transition to virtual learning and dining services workers who have transformed the delivery of meals into a take-out service for the fewer than 200 students who have been unable to return home and continue to live on campus. “To our incredible staff, I should have known that no crisis could throw you off your game. In the face of every challenge, you’ve rolled up your sleeves and dug in, unthwarted by the complexity or the urgency of the task before you.”
“Given the inspiring work that you’ve all been doing, I especially regret the need to suspend a merit increase program for this year,” he said in the email. “Because of you, we’ll emerge from this crisis a stronger and more nimble institution. It won’t be easy, but I am confident that we will do it, and I’m grateful to have you as partners as we take on this challenge. Thank you for all your efforts to date, for inspiring hope, and for taking care of one another.”
For the latest information on Dartmouth’s response to the pandemic visit the COVID-19 website
Susan Boutwell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.