UofA forecasts “$100million shortfall” in revenue, insists “sound financial footing”

Words By Nicholas Birchall

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UofA Vice-Chancellor Peter Rathjen

In an email distributed to Adelaide University staff yesterday evening (6/5), acting Vice-Chancellor Mike Brooks sought to assuage any doubt in the health of the university.

This extensive email referenced the departure of Chancellor Kevin Scarce, and the indefinite leave of Vice-Chancellor Peter Rathjen, insisting that “the events of this week are in no way related to the financial health of the University or the impacts of COVID-19.”

No further comment was made on the reasons behind the pair’s sudden departures.

The email further went on to explain that despite semester one’s domestic enrolments have “held steady, with international enrolments up 5%”, they were “projected to be down 16% in second semester.”

The email further went on to state that “Given [the University] was budgeting for more significant growth this year, this equates to a downturn in budgeted revenue circa $90M. When added to increased costs associated with responding to COVID-19, the university is facing a $100M shortfall this year,” adding that “several east-coast universities are forecasting shortfalls far in excess of ours.”

Brooks further explained that as a result of these forecasts “the University has put in a number of measures to buffer our institution from thus shortfall.” He further elaborated that if need be the University “may draw upon short-term borrowings if required,” stating that their current borrowings sat at $50million which Brooks described as “very modest for a research-intensive organisation,” insisting that the university is on “sound financial footing and is expecting a strong recovery after the pandemic has ended.”

It was also noted at the bottom of the email that Brooks would be convening a staff forum in the near future to provide further update.

As On Dit understands it, a meeting is scheduled for this Friday (8/5) between university senior management and student representatives from the Adelaide University Union (AUU) and Student Representative Council (SRC).

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Adelaide University student magazine since 1932. Edited by Nicholas Birchall, Felix Eldridge, Taylor Fernandez and Larisa Forgac. Email us at onditmag@gmail.com

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