Michigan State University (MSU) employees are asking the university to restore pay cuts that were issued during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a resolution passed by the MSU Faculty Senate, employees were forced to take 10-month salary cuts of 1-8%, an 18-month, 50% cut in retirement match, and at least a 36-month gap between merit raises for all non-union academic management, faculty, and academic staff.

The salary cuts were imposed because the university expected to experience strong financial shortfalls. Specifically, leaders predicted losses from state funds to total $43 million and an additional loss of $63 million from a reduction in tuition revenue.

However, the estimates of financial reductions did not materialize to that amount, leaving the university in a stronger financial status.

“We urge President Stanley and the Board of Trustees to retroactively restore these unnecessary cuts to pay and benefits before more outstanding faculty leave and we jeopardize our ability to attract the best new talent. The costs of recruiting and replacing faculty will far outpace the costs of retaining our best and brightest,” a petition demanding the restoration says.

Furthermore, the group argues that the consequences of the decision have been more dramatic than the initial pay cuts:

  • Combined losses in pay, raise and retirement contributions have resulted in non-union MSU faculty losing the equivalent of 13.42% of a year’s worth of income.
  • When cuts and remaining salaries are placed in the context of annual inflation of 6.2%, MSU faculty have lost the equivalent of ~20% of their purchasing power on a year’s worth of income since the pandemic began.
  • The 18-month reduction in retirement match, compounded over time will result in a ~$68,000 loss from the typical faculty retirement account.
  • MSU faculty salaries had the largest drop of any Big 10 school from 2020 to 2021 and are currently ranked 10 out of 13.
  • MSU saw a 30% increase in faculty leaving during the past year.

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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Star News Network. Follow Cooper on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Samuel Stanley” by Michigan State University. Background Photo “Michigan State University Campus” by Ken Lund. CC BY-SA 2.0.