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Employee furloughs, pay cuts coming to NYCC in Seneca Falls; cites ‘significant shortfall’ in prospective students

A letter sent to employees of the New York Chiropractic College obtained by shows the financial implications of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The college campus that operates in Seneca Falls is going to see significant changes, as enrollment for the 2020-21 academic year dwindles due to COVID-19.

“All facets of our lives – and of our College – have been, and continue to be, impacted,” the letter begins, outlining major changes for employees – including the incoming reality of pay cuts and furloughs.

“Our College community has worked diligently to support our students’ pursuit of their educational goals under extraordinary circumstances. We have shifted courses to online learning; created a thorough, safety-focused reopening plan; advocated aggressively to open campus safely before other traditional higher educational institutions; reopened our health centers, provided student clerks with crucial clinical experiences; and even returned some students to campus early in order to finish their incomplete Winter trimester coursework,” the letter continues. “It has not been easy, but I know our students are immensely grateful for the strides we have made in these months.”

The letter states that the public health crisis has created long-term challenges that the college must contend with in the short-term. “The global financial implications of the pandemic are significant and our College is not exempt,” it continues. “As an enrollment-dependent institution, the COVID-19 pandemic has particularly affected us – and many other colleges and universities – as we experience the growing trend of students deciding to defer or delay educational plans in the face of broad uncertainty.”

A few months ago the college says they enjoyed robust pools of prospective students; and now they face a significant shortfall for Fall 2020. “We must plan for the unpredictable-but-probable resurgence of the virus, which would likely bring additional significant financial consequences.

“In the midst of this period of uncertainty, it has become clear that our College faces significant budget shortfalls int he coming year,” the College says. “We have already taken a number of actions – including controlled spending, budget reductions, and non-essential travel restrictions – to address the anticipated financial impact, but unfortunately, those actions will not be enough.”

The College says they will now take additional, difficult steps to exercise responsible fiscal management for NYCC.

Among those steps, the College says the following changes are taking place:

– NYCC will not provide cost of living adjustments for fiscal year 2021, which runs from September 1st, 2020 through August 31st, 2021.

– Overtime will be kept to a minimum for all employees, and only be allowed if given approval by division heads.

Pay reductions will also take place; and the College says that it will break down like this:

– President Michael Mestan will take a pay cut of 16.5%;
– Senior staff will see a reduction in pay of 11.5%; and
– All other faculty and staff will see a 6.5% reduction in pay.

– The College’s retirement match percentage and healthcare contributions will remain unchanged at this time. They say the paycuts will remain active throughout 2021.

But that’s not where the financial implications for workers at NYCC end.

Furloughs will begin September 1st. The letter indicates that it will affect a limited number of employees who cannot complete their jobs responsibilities on campus or remotely. While those employees – or the number of them – is not identified, they will learn about their fate in the coming days.

“Though this is expected to be temporary, our ability to predict its exact duration is unfortunately limited by the uncertainty around the pandemic’s course and long-term effects,” the letter adds. “We will continually assess and share updates as we gain more understanding.”

President Mestan is expected to hold a town hall meeting for employees on Thursday over Zoom.

“These are indeed challenging times. I look forward ot the day when we can return to normal NYCC operations,” Mestan said in the letter. “Until then, as ever, I am grateful for this dedicated, caring community, and will continue to strive to support our College through this pandemic, and beyond.”