The campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta. The college announced it will furlough employees and cut jobs and salaries to offset the impacts of COVID-19.
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The campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta. The college announced it will furlough employees and cut jobs and salaries to offset the impacts of COVID-19.

Morehouse College will furlough employees, cut jobs and slash salaries to offset the impacts of COVID-19, officials said Monday.

In the first phase of the reduction, the historically black college or university will furlough 54 part-time and full-time employees for two months. Also, the college will terminate 13 full-time employees and cut pay for 194 full-time employees.

Morehouse College President David A. Thomas said the changes will not affect the quality of instruction or student services.

“This is a pivotal moment for all of higher education,” Thomas said. “Those who can adapt to this new normal will thrive, while those who continue to look backwards will struggle to survive. Since even before the Great Recession, the business model of most higher education institutions has been under pressure by changing student demographics, rising costs, and the many choices technology has provided students on how to learn.”

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The changes will go into effect June 1 and last at least until Dec. 31, 2021. Faculty and staff members who earn more than $55,000 annually will see a pay reduction of 10 to 15%.

The president's salary will decrease by 25%. 

Non-exempt employees and jobs that are funded through grants will not be affected by the pay cuts. However, the school will suspend merit increases, hiring, and non-essential purchasing and traveling.

School officials said the first phase of the reduction plan will save Morehouse $3.4 million.

“Our immediate focus will be to bring our faculty and staff back together to chart a course through the opportunities presented by this new reality we’re all in,” Thomas said. “It will require an entrepreneurial spirit and innovation in order to diversify and grow our revenue streams – while upholding our mission and celebrating the traditions and people that make Morehouse unique.”

Morehouse faced financial challenges before the pandemic, according to school officials. The college had planned to furlough employees to fill a $5 million budget gap last fall. However, the school later dropped the plan.

The school has conducted online instruction since March 23 and will continue to operate virtually until further notice.

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