Daily file photo by Catherine Buchaniec
Northwestern announced on Wednesday that it would resume 5 percent automatic and up to 5 percent matching contributions to faculty and staff actively on the University’s Retirement Plan, beginning Jan. 1, 2021.
In May, University President Morton Schapiro announced the suspension of contributions to retirement plans to help offset a $90 million shortfall for the 2020 fiscal year. That month, Craig Johnson, senior vice president for business and finance, said the University was initially planning to furlough 1,000 staff members, but instead decided to suspend contributions to retirement plans.
Open Enrollment for the next calendar year starts on Oct. 26 at 8 a.m., an email from administrators read, which may affect benefit elections. The University is hosting a virtual health and well-being fair Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help prepare for Open Enrollment.
Administrators wrote they prioritized bringing back retirement contributions, given the economic uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 to support faculty and staff. However, they said making this decision means the University needs to be “even more vigilant” about its expenses and revenues moving forward.
“Your wise stewardship of our resources will be key to us achieving balanced operations in fiscal year 2021 as planned,” the email read.
NU Community Not Cops criticized the decision on Twitter, alleging that the administration’s reinstating of retirement contributions would “squash” faculty dissent of the Schapiro’s stance on recent student demonstrations. Others added that the decision might be a way to “get on the good side” of faculty and staff to pivot from solidarity with student activist demands.
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