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Paxson, Locke take 20 percent salary cut due to pandemic’s financial impact

Faculty, staff salaries to freeze for fiscal year 2020, senior admins to take voluntary 15 percent pay reduction

President Christina Paxson P’19 and Provost Richard Locke P’18 will each be taking a 20 percent pay reduction this fiscal year. This decision accompanies salary freezes for faculty and staff.

The announcement, which came in a community-wide email from Locke Tuesday, addresses many measures the University is taking to mitigate the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic on University finances. These measures include suspending hiring “until further notice,” freezing salaries for all faculty and staff, slowing construction projects and reducing spending.

Additionally, “members of the senior administration have volunteered to take 15 % reductions in their salaries,” Locke wrote. 

The University calculated that costs associated with the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic will exceed $20 million in the current fiscal year and will only increase thereafter, The Herald previously reported

Paxson earned $1,244,829 in reportable compensation from the University in the fiscal year that ended in June 2018, the last period for which the University’s public tax records are available. In that same period, Locke earned $660,672. 

This is not the first time that the President of the University has taken a pay cut amid a difficult financial climate. Following the 2008 financial crisis that sent markets plummeting and saw the market value of the endowment fall by 26.6 percent from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009, then-President Ruth Simmons requested and received a salary reduction of approximately 20 percent for that fiscal year, The Herald previously reported

“I fully understand that the pain must begin at the top,” Simmons wrote in an email to The Herald at the time, “and we in the senior administration are making major cuts in our own budgets in order to meet this challenge.”


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