I have a little bit of positive news to share. Since we announced our response to about twenty-five million dollars in state budget cuts in the current fiscal year, many of you wrote to me to say:
"I understand that furloughs are needed to handle this crisis and to balance this year’s budget.
I understand that our total state appropriation is now about what it was in 1997.
I’m willing to do my share.
But how can I help my fellow employees who will be hurt the most by a five-day furlough announced last week?"
Now I have an answer for you.
On November eighteenth, we announced that a “One Clemson Furlough Relief Fund” has been set up.
It’s designed to help employees at the bottom of the pay scale – those who face the most severe financial hardships because of the furlough.
You suggested such a fund, and I’m glad we could make it happen with the help of the Clemson University Foundation.
Marcia and I have made the first gift.
I hope each of you will look at your own situation. If you are able to do so, please join us in contributing to the fund.
The amount of assistance we can offer will depend on the amount contributed.
While we can’t make up the complete deficit for every employee in need, I know that we can help.
Information on how to donate to the fund … and how to apply for assistance from it … is now available on the web.
I want to thank everyone who has responded to my recent messages with understanding, and a determined spirit to continue our progress toward Clemson’s goals.
As I said in my last message, we are in stage one of our response.
Stage two can and will be more strategic.
Soon we will announce the chairs of several task forces set up to examine every facet of Clemson’s operation in detail.
These groups will be small, but broadly inclusive, and will include faculty, staff, and student representatives.
Guided by the Road Map and our vision as a Top-Twenty University, each task force will be given specific financial targets that can be met by savings--as well as generating additional revenue.
Our long-term goal is to be a public university that has meaningful state support, but with significant regulatory relief that will allow us to be more entrepreneurial and flexible.
On Friday morning, I will host an open town-hall meeting for faculty and staff.
We will update you on the budget situation, speak about our plans for the future, and take questions.
The meeting will be Friday at 11:30 am in the Strom Thurmond Institute auditorium.
Please plan to join me if you can.
And thank you, as always, for your deep commitment to Clemson University.
It inspires me and reminds me every day that we are truly blessed to be living in such a caring community.