A Message from the Interim President

Office of the President

April 24, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

In January I wrote to you about actions that The Graduate Center was taking to address critical budget issues. As a result of our careful planning, we have made progress toward closing the fiscal year 2020 budget gap.

Today, however, I write to inform you of further steps that we will be taking, in concert with CUNY, as a result of the economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and the expected impact that will have on fiscal year 2021.

As you know, the New York state budget has been weakened by the steep drop in tax revenues, and further losses are projected. CUNY anticipates significant cuts to state and city funding that may in turn require further cuts to the CUNY budget. As a result, CUNY has announced a series of actions that will be taken across the University, including at The Graduate Center.

The first and most significant of the measures is that the University has implemented a freeze on all personnel actions. This encompasses all new full-time and part-time hires and discretionary salary increases. There are a few exceptions, including health and safety positions and faculty searches in which an offer has already been made. All requests for exceptions will be presented to a Vacancy Review Committee that is being established by the central office. We are aware that this measure will affect a number of departments and individuals at The Graduate Center, and we understand the painful impact of the policy.

In addition, for the remainder of the fiscal year, all CUNY colleges have been instructed to refrain from any new one-time or recurring expenditures, except those that are related to the COVID-19 crisis or to distance learning instruction. Likewise, CUNY colleges are to avoid entering into any new long-term contracts without approvals from the University Budget Office.

Finally, in compliance with the Governor’s executive order regarding essential construction, the University will review all active construction projects, resuming only those that are necessary to protect the health and safety of occupants.

These actions, while immensely challenging, are necessary to preserve the financial health of The Graduate Center and ensure that it continues to fulfill its vital educational mission. I know how dedicated all of you are to CUNY, to our institution and our students, and to the city and state that we serve. I also know that you are creative and resourceful. I am confident that our community will weather these difficult times and emerge stronger in the end.

I remain grateful for your service and committed to ensuring a bright future for our remarkable institution.


James Muyskens
Interim President

Submitted on: APR 24, 2020

Category: COVID-19 | President's Office - Archive