Western Kentucky University President Timothy Caboni announced Friday that he will take a pay cut and forego his performance bonuses amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the money going to benefit WKU’s need-based Opportunity Fund for students.
“We’re a family, and I know that our students and our families are struggling, and suffering, financially. You look around our community and we know that people are under great fiscal stress,” Caboni told the university’s Board of Regents as they met online for committee meetings Friday.
Caboni said he will take a 10 percent pay cut and will forego “all of the bonuses afforded to me.” Caboni’s salary is $416,016, resulting in a cut of $41,601.60.
“All of this is going to be directed to support the Opportunity Fund and our students and our families who are in need,” he said.
Caboni added that he’s also asked campus vice presidents and chief officers, with Provost Cheryl Stevens among them, to take similar 10 percent reductions in salary.
“I am proud of the overwhelmingly positive response from them,” he said.
Additionally, WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart, men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury and football coach Tyson Helton will “all be reducing their salaries by 10 percent as well, all to help our students.”
With the adjustments, Helton’s salary of $800,000 before bonuses and incentives will fall to $720,000 annually. Stansbury’s $750,000 salary will drop to $675,000, and Stewart’s annual salary will go from $270,000 annually to $243,000.
“Crises show the true nature of organizations,” Caboni said. He announced the news while giving a report to WKU’s Board of Regents on the university’s COVID-19 response.
Weeks ago, the university opted to extend its spring break an additional week and transition to distance learning, which it has now extended throughout the spring semester by canceling in-person classes. In that time, Caboni said, WKU has transitioned 2,500 in-person course sections to remote learning formats. At least 600 faculty members attended 29 training sessions to make that happen.
“We’ve conducted 700 hours of Zoom and Blackboard training, and our faculty have worked over 20,000 overtime hours to make this transition (possible),” Caboni said.
“... I think that when we come through this together on the other side, we’re going to be an even stronger institution because of it,” he said.
Caboni also announced that campus groups will soon begin assembling plans to reopen WKU in the fall.
“On Monday, we’re going to announce how we put plans in place to restart WKU in August,” he said, describing “terrific uncertainty” ahead. “No matter what happens, we’re not going to operate this August the way we did last August, but we will be prepared for every eventuality.”
– Daily News WKU athletics reporter Elliott Pratt contributed to this report.