After state budget cuts, enrollment losses, university lays off 50 faculty

No state funding for more than five months

Western Illinois University (WIU) will eliminate 50 faculty positions, in addition to several administrative and support staff positions—and the school still needs to find even more savings, Rich Egger reports for Northern Public Radio.

"At this point I anticipate it will be necessary to inform approximately 50 faculty of the elimination of their positions," Kathy Neumann, interim provost and academic VP told a crowd at a budget address Tuesday night.

Together, eliminating the positions will save WIU about $7.5 million. The university hopes to find an additional $4 million before the next fiscal year, which starts on July 1, 2016.

The Illinois state legislature failed to pass a 2015 budget last July, and colleges and universities in the state have been operating without state funding for more than five months. Larger universities report that they are able to operate almost normally, while smaller ones say they are hurting.

Read more: Illinois public colleges reach 100 days without state funding

WIU President Jack Thomas says the institution is considering furloughs, wage reductions, and other strategies, but will need to bargain with the faculty labor union to implement them. Senior leaders are also looking into program cuts.

"This is difficult for all of us," Thomas told the audience Tuesday (Egger, Northern Public Radio, 12/9).

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