Quoting an e-mail from Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz sent to faculty and staff members, the New York Times reported that the university is suspending the match from July 1 through June 30. The suspension will cover $7.4 million of the university’s projected $8.9 million deficit.
Peter B. French, the executive vice president and chief operating officer at Waltham, Massachusetts-based Brandeis, called the decision “the most equitable and least bad of the options” the university had been considering, adding, “I am quite confident that you will soon see more universities take the same action,” the Times reported.
According to the Times, Brandeis officials said they had concluded that a temporary freeze on retirement contributions would be fairer, and do less harm to the university’s mission and future, than layoffs or across-the-board pay cuts, which some other colleges have undertaken.
The Times quoted Chad Peterson, a spokesman for TIAA-CREF as saying that so far this year 15 higher education institutions and other nonprofits had suspended their retirement plan contributions. The University of Miami said earlier this year that it was considering suspending retirement contributions as part of its strategy for dealing with the economic crisis, but then decided not to do so, at least in the coming fiscal year.
A number of colleges and universities have trimmed the percentage of retirement contributions they would match; Ithaca College, for example, reduced the percentage to 8% from 8.75%.