Western Illinois U. Says It Needs to Eliminate 50 Faculty Jobs

Western Illinois University expects to eliminate some 50 faculty jobs in its next fiscal year as the campus struggles with a financial pinch that stems from years of declines in state appropriations and tuition revenue, according to reports by Northern Public Radio and the ABC affiliate WQAD.

“At this point I anticipate that it will be necessary to inform approximately 50 faculty of the elimination of their positions,” the interim provost, Kathleen Neumann, said during a meeting last week, when President Jack Thomas and other administrators delivered a budget address. Several administrative and staff positions are also expected to be eliminated or modified.

The employee reductions are just for starters. The university is also considering program cuts and possibly furloughs and wage cuts, Mr. Thomas told reporters after the budget talk. “But those are the kinds of things that have to be bargained before we actually really go into that,” he added.

The cuts would take effect July 1, 2016, the start of the next fiscal year.

Western Illinois is not the only public institution in Illinois facing budget woes. Eastern Illinois University’s president found it necessary to issue a statement last month to counter fears that the university might not be able to remain open next semester.

For many colleges, the situation is worsened by a cutoff in state funds since July, while the legislature and the governor remain at odds over a budget for the current fiscal year. At least six universities have had their bond ratings downgraded by Moody’s Investors Service because of the stalemate, the Chicago Tribune reported last month.

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