Message from Provost Brian Blake and EVP and CFO Mark Diaz

March 25, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff:

First, we hope you are staying safe and getting outside some as we all adjust to new routines. Second, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the extraordinary and ongoing efforts of our health and safety colleagues. They are truly the gold standard, and we should all be proud of and grateful for them. Each of you has also risen to the occasion. You are meeting the challenges of virtual instruction and playing critical roles in many areas, directly supporting our ability to manage this crisis. Thank you.

As you know, we are in unprecedented times defined largely by a high degree of uncertainty. Such uncertainty requires us to be as prudent and preemptive as possible. Thankfully, the university is in a strong financial position. Because of this strength, we are able to make decisions in a deliberate and informed manner, and not out of distress. We would like to address a few actions we are taking that may affect you.

The first area that warrants our attention is our liquidity, or the funding that largely allows the university to continue its day-to-day operations. Even though the university is in a strong financial position, securing our liquidity is of paramount importance, and we are working with our banking partners to do so.

At the same time, we also must focus on mitigating the impacts to our operations and finances by controlling what we can control. The two primary areas are personnel and capital spending.

To that end, effective immediately we will suspend all hiring until we are through this crisis. With so much uncertainty, this is the most prudent action we can take at this time. We are establishing a process to consider exceptional essential cases and will provide guidance soon. Also, with respect to current and outstanding offers, we will honor our commitments; however, each offer will be reviewed and approval reaffirmed by the Provost for academic positions and by the Executive Vice President for all other positions. This will be tough for all of us, but it is a necessary step for the long-term viability of our university.

In addition, with the exception of strategic projects, such as the Thurston renovation, and life-safety projects, we will delay all major capital projects until further notice.    

As President LeBlanc wrote recently to the GW community, we are in a momentous time that calls for us to find strength and resilience. The crisis caused by COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our campus life. As we monitor this evolving situation, we will continue to evaluate these hiring and spending decisions as well as further actions that may be necessary, depending on the length of the crisis.

We thank you for all you are doing for our community and, most especially, our students. Stay tuned, stay positive and Raise High.

Sincerely,

M. Brian Blake
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Mark Diaz
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer