Nov. 12, 2009

A partial closing of the university from Dec. 24 to Jan. 3 is one budget-saving strategy approved Oct. 29 by the state Board of Regents. Other strategies to help meet a $24.5 million state funding reversion include a temporary layoff/furlough plan, temporary reduction in the university's contribution to employees' TIAA-CREF retirement accounts and a second retirement incentive option (RIO) program. Most of the savings for the RIO program will be seen in FY11. Lastly, the board will take final action on a proposed spring semester tuition surcharge when it meets Dec. 10 in Ames.

Guidelines announced for partial shutdown over semester break

by Anne Krapfl

By coincidence of the 2009 calendar, university employees could achieve an 11-day respite from their jobs (Dec. 24-Jan. 3) during the semester break by taking paid or unpaid leave for just four of those days, Dec. 28-31. The other seven days fall on weekends or university holidays, which for the majority of employees are not regular workdays. University leaders are encouraging units to consider taking advantage of this, and have set guidelines for a partial shutdown of Iowa State.

Vice president for business and finance Warren Madden said the intent is that, for those 11 days, Iowa State will operate as if it were a weekend or holiday. He said that, traditionally, many employees are away from campus during this time already. Campus buildings will be locked and employees are encouraged to turn off electronic equipment and lower thermostats before they depart on Dec. 23.

He said a partial shutdown would achieve several things:

  • Allow employees to use temporary layoff/furlough time when classes aren't meeting to lessen the impact on the university's mission
  • Contribute to mid-year cost savings through reduced demands for electricity and steam (heat), at an estimated savings of $4,800 per day

He noted that the partial shutdown is not mandatory. Critical university services, facilities, events and maintenance or research programs that need to keep operating may do so. But many services won't be available or will have reduced staffs.

What to do

Units interested in participating in at least a partial shutdown during the Dec. 24-Jan. 3 timeframe should:

  • Get approval from the appropriate dean or vice president for your plans.
  • Communicate your plans to staff and post an announcement on your web site by the end of November, if possible.
  • Post changes to office hours in voice messages and on web sites prior to and during the shutdown. Include a contact phone number in case of emergencies.
  • Turn off printers, copiers, computers and other office equipment and turn down thermostats before leaving work on Dec. 23.
  • Due to the possibility of sub-freezing temperatures, designate someone to periodically check workspaces for plumbing, heating or cooling problems. Madden said trouble calls can be placed to the FPM service desk, 4-5100; or the department of public safety, 4-4428; or, in a true emergency, 911.