Western Illinois University Lays Off 132 Employees Citing Budget, Decreased Enrollment

MACOMB, ILLINOIS — On Friday morning, Western Illinois University in Macomb sent layoff notices to 132 employees. The layoffs announced Friday afternoon include both faculty and staff from across the university. An additional nine employees saw their contract term lengths reduced.

“As a result of the current budget situation, including decreased enrollment, it is necessary to reduce our expenditures, including position reductions across the University. We have pledged to work with employees to provide career counseling and assistance with employment searches,” said WIU President Jack Thomas in a statement.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • 89 were civil service positions (plus nine employees who have had their retirement contract term lengths reduced) – 30 Day Notice
  • 2 were Admin positions
  • 29 were faculty members
  • 12 were Academic Support Personnel

As for the administrative side, with the two listed – just recently numerous employees with administrative titles were reclassified to Civil Service per the State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS) procedures manual, that is why the CS number is larger and admin number is smaller.

Darcie Shinberger, WIU’s Director of University Relations also broke down the length of time the laid off personnel will have at the university.

  • Most Admin and ASP personnel, depending on the length of service, will have 6 months notice, but some ASP’s are contractual and their notices span 3-9 months depending on service.
  • Unit A (tenured and tenure track) faculty get a full year notice. They will teach the 2019-2020 academic year, and be complete by the end of Spring 2020 semester (May 19, 2020)
  • Unit B faculty (non-tenure track) will finish the semester (May 14, 2019).

The university has struggled with declining enrollment for several years. A last-ditch effort, #BuyIntoWIU, sought to stave off the layoffs.

“Unfortunately, 20 years of state disinvestment and 12 years of unimpeded enrollment decline have brought Western Illinois to the point we are today. In order to avoid a potential catastrophe in the fall when the university may be unable to meet payroll, WIU caused a catastrophe now, the largest layoff in its history,” said Bill Thompson, president of the WIU chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois union. “This announcement is devastating on all fronts. We encourage the university to rediscover its mission and head toward a future that does not include layoffs and all the havoc they will bring to our community. Our union will protect our members’ rights during these layoffs and, as always, help lead the way into the future.”

Impacted employees can go here for layoff resources.

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