Moving FAS forward during difficult times

5/20/20

Dear FAS Colleagues,

The realities of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and its impact on us as individuals and as an institution are becoming clearer as the university’s ongoing assessment and planning continues.

I believe that each of us is likely to be personally touched by COVID-19 at some point over time. Some of us have already been diagnosed and recovered, had to self-isolate after having been potentially exposed, or have loved ones in similar situations. And we recently learned that a group of our FAS colleagues were diagnosed with the virus. I wish a speedy recovery to each of them and all others affected.  

I expect our university’s positive case count to continue to increase in alignment with what we are seeing at the local and state levels. It is critical that all of us continue to take preventive measures to stay healthy and well. You should be working remotely whenever possible, with guidance from your supervisor. For those of you reporting to work on campus to support the university’s essential and core operations during this time, our safety measures and procedures remain in place to help keep you and your coworkers safe. Please follow them, and ask your supervisor if you have questions.

In addition to our health, I know there are also concerns about the university’s financial status and measures that might be taken that could ultimately impact your jobs as was outlined in the most recent campus message from President Fenves and Interim President Designate Hartzell. The university’s executive leadership team, including myself, has worked closely together to minimize as much as possible the impact of the university’s financial position on the people we depend on to help keep it running. Unfortunately, our reality is that FAS units will need to take actions that directly affect some of you.

Your supervisors are being guided by the FAS core values and are committed to learning from our recent experiences while we transform our services and innovate the way we do business – and, in some cases, may continue to do business – while units thoughtfully and strategically consider human resources in addition to financial resources. They are working together to plan how to best support the incremental reopening of campus this summer, and for fall and beyond. I encourage you to share your suggestions and experiences with them as they make very complex and difficult decisions that best support FAS operations on behalf of the university’s academic and research mission. Your unit leadership will be in touch with updates as more information becomes available.

Please do all that you can to take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Our colleagues in the HealthPoint Employee Assistance Program continue to provide services and information to help us all stay emotionally healthy. Our HealthPoint Wellness Program offers classes and resources that focus on our physical health.

Thank you for everything you do.

Regards,

Darrell Bazzell | Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer | The University of Texas at Austin