Coronavirus Campus Communication 4/6/2020 – Official Message from the Office of the President
This is a time like no other, and there are serious ramifications. First, the health and well-being of our students, colleagues and friends is paramount. We have taken swift actions over the past several weeks to ensure the safety of our College and we will continue to do so in alignment with federal, state, and local health guidance. Second, the short and long term financial health of Ramapo is of serious concern and it too will require taking strategic action for several reasons:
- Ambiguity: Much remains unknown about the scope and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the short and long term disruption it will cause, the depth of economic hardship it will generate, and the way in which any governmental relief efforts will proceed.
- State Budget Freeze & Fiscal Year Extension: On March 20, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Treasury froze nearly $1 billion in appropriations to ensure sufficient cash and budget authority to meet emergency and statutorily required obligations. This freeze will likely lead to an initial $4 million loss to the College’s current fiscal year appropriation. Following the freeze, the State acted to extend its fiscal year for three months past June 30, 2020. We do not yet know the impact the extension will have on the College nor how it will be managed or funded.
- Lost Revenues and Student Relief: For our students, the spring 2020 semester has meant, in part, having to disappointingly and hastily redefine their collegiate experience. We know that the College will lose millions of dollars in revenue from room, board, and parking fees but we must do what is right and in the best interest of our students and provide them with prorated relief in these areas.
- Investment Loss Estimate: Given market declines and forecasts, the Foundation is also anticipating a loss of several million dollars from its endowment and, on what is being described by some as a pending world-wide recession, it is not unreasonable to assume that charitable giving will also suffer.
- Other Expenses: The College has had to make unanticipated investments in additional cleaning/health supplies, equipment and infrastructure to support the abrupt transition to remote delivery of operations and instruction.
In short, the College is addressing the reduction of State support, lost revenues, and a host of other complex challenges that, in a matter of weeks, have already weakened our financial position. As such, the College is moving forward with cuts to expenses related to events, programming, and non-essential operations in order to get through the current fiscal year, and there will surely be more actions taken as we move forward through these trying times.
I am sharing this message with you now because it is incumbent upon all of us to both understand the complexity of challenges we are confronting and to recognize that finding balance as we continue walking forward on this tightrope will become increasingly difficult for us all.
As we navigate this wholly unnatural terrain together, we must also focus on the things that connect us. Even remote, our College is vibrant and active. What will see us through these immense challenges is our ingenuity, our perseverance, and our shared passion in providing a rigorous liberal education focused on academic excellence and student success.
I implore you all, again, to continue doing what you can to stay healthy and to reduce the risk of contagion to yourself, your family, and our community.
Peter P. Mercer
Ramapo College’s COVID-19 Resource Page: https://www.ramapo.edu/health/coronavirus-covid-19/
Should you have questions:
- COVID-19 State of NJ Hotline and Website: (800)222-1222 and https://covid19.nj.gov/
- Ramapo College COVID-19 Information Line: (201)684-RCNJ or email@example.com
- Students: Health related questions should be directed to Health Services at (201)684-7536
- Students who are studying abroad: Contact the Roukema Center for International Education at (201)684-7533
- Counseling Services: Mental health related services for students can be secured at (201)684-7522
- Employees: Questions regarding employment should be directed to Human Resources at (201)684-7498 or firstname.lastname@example.org