University guts academic programs, eliminates over 100 jobs amid budget troubles

Daily Caller News Foundation

The West Virginia University (WVU) Board of Governors voted Friday to remove 28 academic programs and 143 faculty positions to address a $45 million budget deficit, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The public university will cut most foreign-language courses, graduate degrees in higher-education administration and a Ph.D. in mathematics along with faculty positions within its school of law, mathematical and data science and public health. The board came to a decision with little discussion as protestors’ shouts interrupted the meeting, according to the WSJ.

The university has struggled financially with a 10% drop in admissions since 2015, income lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic and debt from new building projects. The board approved cuts in June that removed 132 staff positions and 12 graduate and doctorate programs, according to The Associated Press.

Spending at WVU increased by 38% from 2002 to 2022, or 29% per-student. Due to the increase in expenditure and state funding being cut in half, the university resorted to tuition revenue to cover growing costs, the WSJ reported.

“We did not plan to grow the university on the basis of our budget,” WVU President E. Gordon Gee said at a faculty assembly meeting. “We planned with the hope that we would grow that and then our budget would follow.”

Students and faculty protested the board’s decision with signs saying “VOTE for ME VOTE to FREEZE,” and chanting “Stop the cuts!” The WVU Faculty Assembly objected to the program cuts and voted twice to freeze the “academic transformation” process, according to WBOY.

The relations between faculty and administrators have diminished since the proposed cuts were released publicly. The faculty assembly passed a vote of “no-confidence in Gee,” while Gee accused faculty of spreading false narratives about the school’s revenue and debt, according to the WSJ.

The WVU Board of Governors and the WVU Faculty Assembly did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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