Despite pleas from students, faculty members, and academic organizations, the West Virginia University Board of Governors voted to cut 143 faculty positions and 28 academic programs at its flagship Morgantown campus.
This decision comes in the face of student protests and opposition from various stakeholders.
The university’s cuts will result in the elimination of all foreign language degree programs, as well as its math graduate degree programs, among other offerings.
While some students expressed their frustration through tears and vocal protests, the board moved forward with the cuts, with only a few representatives consistently voting against them.
The meeting, attended by more than 100 individuals, including board members and WVU officials, witnessed disruptive protests from students who chanted “Stop the cuts!” when the board members voted on the reductions.
Eventually, the chanting students left the room, but some re-entered to continue their demonstration.
WVU President E. Gordon Gee had hinted at the need for substantial budget cuts earlier in the year due to declining enrollment and financial challenges.
The university’s enrollment has declined by 10% since 2015, far worse than the national average. In response to projected future enrollment drops, WVU leaders announced the need to slash $75 million from the budget.
The proposed cuts, which included faculty positions and program eliminations, drew national attention and condemnation.
Despite protests and appeals, the university proceeded with most of its original proposals.
These cuts will take effect gradually as individual employees receive termination notices, with some faculty members potentially losing their jobs as early as May.
The university’s decision to eliminate foreign language degrees and other programs has generated significant backlash from students and faculty who see these cuts as detrimental to the educational opportunities available at WVU.