Ruth Funk Center to Close,
MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology President Dwayne McCay today announced a series of steps necessary to respond to the unprecedented economic uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff reductions and furloughs, the closure of the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts and the elimination of the football program are meant to reduce costs and ensure the university can achieve its core mission of STEM higher education.
“As I have continued to share with you, these are difficult times for our university,” McCay told the university community in a letter today. “Indeed, all of higher education is struggling to deal with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty that accompanies a global disruption to daily life. Some universities will no doubt close. Florida Tech, however, has plans to persevere.”
In order to meet the financial challenges, the university will eliminate some staff positions later this month, while additional staff will be furloughed. Many of the furloughed employees are expected to be recalled to work closer to the start of the fall semester Aug. 17. Estimates of the number of employees impacted will not be known until the count of employees who opt to take an early retirement package is finalized.
The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, which opened its current campus facility in 2009, will also close its doors later this year. The university is making plans for how it will otherwise display the textiles collection.
The Florida Tech football program, which was founded in 2011 and competes in the Gulf South Conference, will be eliminated effective immediately. The team fields 120 players, and students on scholarship will have their scholarship awards honored for up to four years. Additional answers to questions related to this decision may be found here.
“The unprecedented uncertainty created by COVID-19 makes these moves prudent, but no less painful,” McCay told the campus community in his letter. “We must do what is necessary to preserve resources critical to our educational mission and ensure our ability to successfully serve students when face-to-face instruction resumes this fall. I appreciate each of you, and I am humbled by your hard work and sacrifice.”