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Update: Scenario and Financial Solutions Task Force

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University of Denver

Meeting Held May 12, 2020

News  •
Internal  •


Leslie Brunelli
Senior vice chancellor for business and financial affairs 

Denise O’Leary
Chair of the Board of Trustees


Claire Brownell 
Director of University protocol


The SFSTF held its first meeting on Tuesday, May 12, co-chaired by Denise O’Leary, chair of the Board of Trustees and Leslie Brunelli, senior vice chancellor for business and financial affairs. After brief introductions and general comments summarizing the impact of COVID-19 on the University of Denver, SVC Brunelli, along with Corinne Lengsfeld, interim provost and executive vice chancellor, and Linda Kosten, vice provost for University budget, planning and administration, led the committee through a prepared slide deck with time set aside to encourage member discussion.

The task force charge was described which focuses on the analysis of the financial impact of scenarios and recommended budgetary solutions for FY21 and beyond. Additionally, the subcommittee of University personnel was charged with reviewing non-academic units based on impact and productivity.

A commitment of this task force, and all the working groups, is to provide timely updates to the broader campus community.

SVC Brunelli led the group through an operating budget to actual review of the current 2020 fiscal year which includes revenue reductions from room and board refunds and the loss of campus activities including those in athletics, conferences and events and the Newman Center for the Performing Arts. Expenditure reductions resulting from the hiring freeze, non-essential expenditure restrictions, and paused capital projects were highlighted. Vice Provost Kosten discussed institutional reserves and described the types of reserve funds, the impact of unit-level gainshare and the relationship between reserves and working capital, the institution’s financial liquidity.

Interim Provost Lengsfeld reviewed the revised budget timeline for the 2021 fiscal year which includes input from this task force. The McKinsey & Company scenarios for the progression of the virus and the impact on University operations with a high-level revenue loss expectation set the stage for solutions. Interim Provost Lengsfeld provided a summary of other higher education institutions’ responses through three slides compiled by EAB.

To conclude this first meeting, SVC Brunelli reviewed next steps and established the next meeting date of June 2. At that meeting the task force will review high-level budget recommendations for the 2021 Scenario I base case and provide a financial impact of the Scenarios II and III. A curated list of reading materials from The Chronicle of Higher Education, McKinsey & Company, Inside Higher Ed and Deloitte were provided.

SVC Brunelli and Vice Provost Kosten held a separate meeting on Thursday, May 21, with task force members who were unable to attend on May 12.