(Bad) Sign of the Times

30 10 2008

This is going to take away a fairly large amount of my writing material…


Cornell announces hiring pause, construction moratorium
Moves in response to state budget news
October 30, 2008

 Cornell University is taking steps to prepare for blows to the budget, including a pause in hiring, a 90-day construction moratorium, and a university-wide review of all operations, Vice President for Communications Tommy Bruce said today.

The “pause” in hiring means no external applicants will be appointed to any open positions, according to a statement released by the university.

This is intended to provide slots for any employees who may be “dislocated in the near term” by funding cuts, and to find, through attrition, any positions that can be eliminated to minimize the need to lay off staff in the future.

Though a private university, Cornell operates four schools on the Ithaca campus established by the state and that receive public operating and construction funding. It is also New York’s land-grant institution and operates agricultural experiment stations in Ithaca and Geneva. Gov. David Paterson announced earlier in the week that the state faces a $1.5 billion budget gap for the current fiscal year and $12.5 billion for the fiscal year that starts April 1. About a fifth of state revenues are tied to the New York City financial industry.

Bruce emphasized that there will be no across-the-board cuts or layoffs, saying, “We have been having to deal with very real cuts coming from the state, and what we’re dealing with is loss of revenue in the wake of the Wall Street situation. What this means going forward is that we may be facing a situation in terms of reduced personnel. What we have to do at this point, not knowing the full impact of the current economic situation, is taking the precautionary step of pulling back on posting open positions and hiring externally.”

The hiring pause will be in effect until March 31 and applies only to non-professorial positions.

The 90-day construction pause will halt progress on any development project on which construction has not already started or which does not have a contract commitment on it.

Physical infrastructure, information technology capital investment, and local transportation and housing projects are included in the moratorium. Bruce said there will be a review of all projects to determine how to proceed most efficiently.

The university-wide review of operations will help the administration pinpoint areas that can be streamlined and where costs can be contained.

Bruce offered an example from his office, which produces more than 1,000 publications a year. These publications can be produced electronically, he said, saving the cost of paper and publication.

An electronic suggestion box has been set up at www.cuinfo.cornell.edu for members of the Cornell community to offer ideas.


City of Ithaca’s doing the same thing. The state’s severe defecits as a result of the crisis on Wall Street are finally hitting home…and it’s hitting hard.


My question is which projects that are not underway have a contract commitment. I suspect Milstein is largely safe, but the addition to the Johnson Museum is likely shelved.



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