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Fellow Bears:

Several weeks ago, we convened a special Board of Trustees meeting to discuss the emerging financial impacts of COVID-19 on UNC. In that meeting, we projected to finish out this fiscal year with a revenue loss of $4.5M and the potential for far greater losses next year. As the financial consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic continue to unfold, the Cabinet, President’s Leadership Council, Faculty Senate, and numerous other university leaders will continue conversations about short- and long-term cost savings measures that are necessary to sustain our operations. Thank you for your continued commitment to excellence and student success during this unprecedented semester.

I am writing today to inform the university community that I have made the difficult decision to place some of our exempt staff members on furlough for the summer months. Furloughs are being used only where staff members have little to no work in May, June, and/or July due to our altered operations and the closure of campus through July 31. Some examples include residence hall staff where no residents are returning for the summer, event planning staff in departments where events have been canceled, and assistant athletic coaches whose teams are currently not allowed to meet or practice during the summer months. Employees who will be impacted will be notified by their supervisor in the weeks ahead.

While employees are on furlough, they will be placed on a leave of absence from UNC and will not be permitted to complete any work on behalf of the university. This leave is unpaid, but most employees will continue to receive the same or more pay as they did while working due to standard unemployment benefits combined with a special, $600 weekly supplement provided for through the federal CARES Act. All impacted employees who have UNC health insurance and other benefits will continue to have coverage while furloughed, and UNC will pay both the employer and employee contributions to these benefits during this time. Employees will also continue to accrue sick and vacation leave while on furlough. Additional detailed information about furlough status, unemployment benefits, and continuing UNC benefits will be provided to each furloughed employee. Anyone who has additional questions is encouraged to reach out to Human Resources directly. 

Our campus has done a great deal of work together over the last two years, and more of that collaboration and creativity will be necessary as we adjust to the many changes necessitated by COVID-19. Decisions like these are never easy, but I am confident that this is a necessary step toward financial stability amid the changing realities of this pandemic. If you have questions or ideas, please reach out to me directly.

Rowing, Not Drifting,

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Andy Feinstein
President