Rider University freezes non-faculty hiring, reduces summer student employment, cuts top administrator pay in response to COVID-19 crisis

Rider University, which has campuses in Lawrence and Princeton, is freezing all hiring for non-faculty positions, reducing summer student employment, and cutting the pay of top administrators in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

University President Gregory Dell’Omo informed students and staff members of the measures school officials are implementing in a letter on Monday.

“Recently I wrote to our university community about the significant impacts coronavirus is having on our institution. The issues are many, but as each day goes by, the substantial financial impact of the pandemic becomes clearer. Like colleges and universities across the nation, we are compelled to plan for the real possibility this fall of lower enrollment and fewer residential students, and whether we will even be able to return to campus for in-person operations,” reads the letter.

A hiring freeze for non-faculty positions has been implemented until further notice. Exceptions to the hiring freeze will require the approval of the president, and Dell’Omo wrote that the provost is also assessing the status of existing faculty searches.

“We are significantly reducing summer student employment. Only essential student workers will continue working through July and August,” he wrote. “Additionally, significant savings are being achieved as a result of our contracted partners, such as Gourmet, C & W Services, Barnes & Noble, and Ricoh, having reduced their workforces in light of significantly reduced operations on both campuses.

Dell’Omo said the school is committed to paying employees through June 30.

The senior leadership team, including the cabinet and deans, will take a 10% salary reduction for six months beginning May 1. Dell’Omo said he will take a 25% salary reduction for the same period.

“Looking ahead, we are assessing other cost savings in July and August to address COVID-19 related costs and lost revenues this fiscal year into next year. This, among others, will also include decisions related to summer hours. We will share more detailed information regarding these measures in the near future as those plans are finalized,” he wrote.

Dell’Omo said a longer-term restructuring of university costs will likely be necessary once the pandemic situation “fully unfolds” and its impact on enrollment and related revenue is completely understood.

“These decisions are not easy, and none are taken lightly. COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our university operations and we must make short and long term changes in order to successfully withstand the pandemic,” he wrote. “This may be the fiercest challenge we have ever faced as an institution, but we will get through it together while staying firmly committed to our core educational mission in service to students.”