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Wayne State University leaders will take pay cuts and put them into a student emergency fund to help enrolled students in need of assistance during COVID-19.

President M. Roy Wilson made the announcement this week in a letter to the campus, saying that he would take a 10 percent pay cut immediately through the end of the year. Executives, along with the deans of the 13 colleges, would voluntarily reduce their pay 5 percent.

The pay cuts will go into Wayne State's Student Emergency Fund, which current students may access to cover emergencies such as transportation, food, utilities, medications or personal tragedy.

All students are eligible, Wilson said, but focus will be on providing assistance to students who can't tap into federal CARES funds, awarded earlier this month to colleges and universities amid the coronavirus outbreak to help students with cash grants. Wayne State University was awarded $9.6 million for student aid.  

"The program ensures that temporary hardships do not prevent students from continuing forward and achieving their dreams of a college degree," Wilson wrote Thursday. "All of our current students are considered part of the Warrior family, and we want to make sure all of our students are eligible for this support."

The emergency fund is part of Warrior Relief and Response effort created last month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilson wrote.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, Wayne State students, faculty and staff have stepped up in extraordinary ways to support those in need."

At one of Wayne State's first coronavirus meetings, Wilson wrote that employees began donating their sick time to help fellow employees. 

"This began almost as a symbolic gesture, but we’ve now banked thousands of hours, more than $200,000 worth from our executive leadership alone," Wilson wrote. "Since then, Wayne State Warriors have found many other ways to help, from establishing early testing for health care providers and first responders to providing virtual mental health support and creating face shields through 3D printing."

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