USC Administration Takes Pay Cuts; What About Clay Helton?

USC just announced a series of cost-cutting measures because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The President will be taking a 20 percent reduction, while the Provost, Senior Vice Presidents, and Deans will give 10 percent,” a USC statement said.

What about Clay Helton and Andy Enfield? They might be the two highest-paid employees on campus. Helton is almost certainly the highest paid.

Full letter below:

USC Office of the ProvostApril 3, 2020

Dear Trojan Community,

In the weeks since our world suddenly changed, the USC community has pulled together in ways that demonstrate both our strength and our humanity. Our faculty, staff, students, and medical personnel have stepped up in remarkable ways to tackle the most complicated and difficult period most of us have ever experienced. We are deeply grateful. We are steadfast in our commitment to keeping you safe and we are thinking of you, your families, and your working life as we weather this storm together.

One of the ways we will get through this is by recognizing the realities we are facing and dealing with them head on. This is a monumental health crisis, and as a significant healthcare provider in Los Angeles, we care for the well-being of our community. And our great medical team is doing just that. At the same time, the economic effects of this pandemic are dire. U.S. jobless claims rose by 10 million in the past two weeks, manufacturing is grinding to a halt, and millions of Americans are sequestered in their homes. We are experiencing an unprecedented situation. No one knows how long it will last. But we are confident we will come out of this stronger.

Now is the time for us to look inward to ensure that when USC emerges from this crisis, we will remain the thriving research university that has and will continue to make our community, our city, and our world a better place. We need to make some tough calls right now to address the serious financial consequences we face.

Despite our resilience and liquidity, the magnitude of the shock will be significant. We are experiencing sizable additional costs associated with stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our 80,000 strong community and we are suffering a significant decline in many important sources of revenue. We are seeing slowdowns in philanthropy and declines in endowment value. We are also experiencing revenue losses from lower collection rates on student and donor receivables, reductions in clinical revenue, uncertainty about enrollment rates, and increased need for financial aid. Moreover, we are still dealing with the significant financial and cash ramifications of legacy legal issues, including the $215 million federal settlement in the Tyndall case. 

We are taking some immediate steps, as follows, to better position our University for the future. We did not make these decisions lightly but taking swift action now will leave us with more flexibility as this crisis unfolds. In the coming days and weeks, we will collaborate with leaders across the University on any future adjustments we may need to make to address the ongoing financial impact.

Pause in Hiring – Effective immediately, we are pausing University-wide hiring for faculty and staff positions until further notice. Our objective is to focus support on our existing faculty and staff. Deans will review with the Provost the status of authorized, ongoing faculty searches and jointly determine which, if any, can proceed this spring. Additional guidelines, which will include an exception process, will be announced shortly.

Pause in Merit Increases and Senior Leadership Compensation Reductions – We have decided to pause merit increases for both faculty and staff. Any staff exceptions must be approved by the Senior Vice President of Human Resources and the Senior Vice President, Finance. Academic exceptions must be approved by the Provost. Due to unprecedented challenges faced by the faculty and staff of our clinical enterprise and our first responders, a salary program will be developed for these groups. Groups in bargaining units will receive pay as dictated by contracts. 

The University’s senior leadership has volunteered to take a reduction in compensation. The President will be taking a 20 percent reduction, while the Provost, Senior Vice Presidents, and Deans will give 10 percent. The resulting funds will be donated to provide financial aid and emergency assistance to our undergraduate, graduate, and professional students as well as our employees.

Pause on Travel – All non-essential USC business travel remains suspended until further notice.

Pause on Discretionary Spending – We are pausing discretionary spending on food, meals, events, holiday parties, gifts, recognition banquets, and other expenditures that are not critical to the operation of the University. 

Pause on Capital Projects – We will re-evaluate all capital projects.

Summer Programs – Given the uncertainty of when the campus will open again, all in-person summer programs and associated in-person activities will move to online offerings through the end of the first summer term. In addition, there will be no summer learning abroad programs. In late April we will evaluate if we can have in-person on campus activities for the second summer term.  

We understand the uncertainty that the COVID-19 crisis has created for our community and we are so grateful for how everyone is working together during these difficult times. Given the extraordinary nature of this crisis, we will continue to evaluate the global economic situation as well as our own, look for opportunities for improvement, and communicate regularly with you.  

Thank you for your dedication to USC.

Fight On!Carol L. FoltCharles F. Zukoski

 Charles F. Zukoski signatureJames M. Staten
Senior Vice President, Finance

13 thoughts on “USC Administration Takes Pay Cuts; What About Clay Helton?

  1. Always worried about how much others make is a bad look. Why don’t you just withhold your generous contribution to the school and I’m sure they’d be forced to give them a pay cut. Yeah right.

    Who’s committing today? Anyone?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, good point. I view Nikias as making a number of bad decisions while he was president, several of which could have been avoided if he had listened more to others outside his small sphere. The med school issues, the continuation of Tyndall, hiring completely inexperienced ADs…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. One doesn’t absolve the other… or as your momma used to say, “two wrongs don’t make a right”.


  2. I can save SC $10 mil right this second. Stop the purchase of the house in Santa Monica. Fire Folt. No golden parachute. Her lack of not understanding Sc completely deserves her firing. Tell Helton to take a million dollar cut and give it to the assistants on the other sports teams. Tell him to either take the deal or he is gone with no parachute. Tell Bohn to either get the football team up into the National Playoffs or he takes a 30% decrease. Get rid of 10 BOT’s. They are worthless.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. How do you tell students USC is the center of the Downtown Renaissance and is a safe place to go to school and then buy a mansion for the USC president next to Westwood High? They should build a nice place for the president on campus and save $7 million.


  3. The country club atmosphere started with Max Nikias who appointed Haden, Swann, and allowed for the incompetent faculty members.
    I agree with Scott Wolf college coaches should take a pay cuts. Kiffin, Sarkisian, and Helton were not proven head football coaches not even highly thought of assistant coaches, and received starting salaries like they were already coaching legends. It’s time to pay coaches their market value with performance bonuses not buyout contracts if they are fired. Based on the last 10 years the USC Head Football and Basketball Coaches should be making entry level salaries rather than coaching legend salaries after they have won on a consistent basis. In my mind, none have performed up to USC championship expectations most way below.
    Who signed off on these inflated salaries, long term buy out contracts you guessed it President Max. If Helton or Enfield were looking for head coaching jobs today few colleges would offer, and if they did both would have to take huge pay cut to match their true market value.

    I am just saying it all starts at the top, and look what’s happened the man responsible for all this is still on the USC Payroll.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Clay Helton’s not giving up a DIME , because he knows after this contract is up, he’ll never make anything close to what he makes now. He will not only be a head coach again, but he’ll never be a coordinator either…. I GUARANTEE!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. As usual, too little, too late.

    The Bot and Univ. President should pull a Trump, i.e. summarily terminate “Nicky Squid” w/o so much as a faulty parachute. Then arm an Army of SUCCX grad Attorneys so it will take Nicky and his Attorneys 25 years to collect a single Clown U dime.


  6. ‘Clay Darling, did we get that $165,000 deposited into our acct last week?’
    ‘Yes Honey Bucket & another deposit next week’.

    ‘Oh baby, I’m going down to Gucci’

    ‘Honey Dripper, the whole street’s all boarded up. Something about looting. I saw it on T.V.’


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