Blog Posts > Shrinking Pains at West Virginia University
June 23, 2023

Shrinking Pains at West Virginia University

Inside Higher Ed – When West Virginia University president E. Gordon Gee announced plans to cut programs and faculty in the face of a projected $75 million budget shortfall, he said he wanted the process to be as compassionate and transparent as possible. It was, after all, the first reduction in force (RiF) in the university’s history to include faculty.

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That unprecedented step is proving a difficult sell. In an open letter penned last week, 55 faculty members wrote that WVU administrators have been underhanded and inconsistent in their communication about the cuts. Faculty members said they feel both excluded from the process and anxious about its potential scale.

“There’s been no dignity or respect,” said Gwen Bergner, an English professor who signed the letter. “And sure, they’re being transparent about their schedule for firing people. But they’re not really transparent about the budget. They’re not transparent about how this deficit got so large, or how they’re deciding who to lay off.”

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