Michigan State University is giving full- and part-time professors, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate assistants $1,500 bonuses in recognition of their work during the pandemic, the institution announced Monday. The university previously announced three additional personal days for employees to use during the upcoming holiday break, in recognition of the same. Dan Olsen, university spokesperson, said, “We are able to take these actions because our short-term financial situation has stabilized. We will utilize one-time reserve funds for this well-deserved bonus to our employees.”
Last month, Michigan State’s faculty formally asked the university to restore employees’ COVID-19–related cuts to compensation, citing the university’s relatively strong financial standing despite the pandemic. In an announcement about the new bonus, Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MSU’s president, said that it’s important to note that “we still face challenges to our recurring base budget from a number of sources, including changes in enrollment patterns during the past two years, as well as new costs from the pandemic, which we will continue to address during the next three to four years.”
Stanley also said, “There is great fatigue and stress in the campus community as we continue to confront this dynamic and ongoing pandemic,” and that “stronger caregiver support is needed as many are navigating significant personal challenges, in addition to substantial workloads.” The university has been anticipating federal action on caregivers, he said, but “even without a policy at the national level, we must act at MSU.” More information on a universitywide caregiver program is expected in the coming weeks.