WVU moves forward with cuts amidst protests

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 6:18 PM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - West Virginia University is moving forward with its academic transformation.

A crowd of students and teachers gathered to protest Fridays vote to cut more than 140 faculty jobs from the university.

Ultimately the board of governors passed the preliminary vote with only minor changes.

President Gordon Gee says it’s been a difficult process that will affect people he knows and respects.

When 5 News asked Gee the immediate impact these cuts will have on the schools debt, he said there are plans to reinvest in the schools medical field.

“We plan on squeezing the $45-million out almost immediately -- it depends a bit on enrollment and a variety of other things, but we plan on having this behind us,” said Gee.

When asked to further elaborate the amount of money the school would be saving with these cuts the schools director of communication April Kuall says it’s too soon to tell.

“I know that a lot of people want a dollar amount right now, this is multi step process,” said Kaull. “It is not possible for us to give a precise number right now on where that figure may ultimately land. I think by the time we’re further into that process, perhaps the end of that process, we’ll be in a better position to give a more precise answer.”

Kuall says the range of salaries for faculty potentially affected by the cuts varies too greatly.

12 weeks compensation will be paid to those faculty who are impacted and a figure won’t be ready until after that.

Some departments saw one or two faculty positions end up being saved. Members of the student union saw it as a small victory.

Ideally I guess it’s better than nothing, but when it comes down to it it’s still the same ideology where they’re going in and they’re just systematically dismantling these programs,” said Student Union Executive Counselor Miles Case. “We want these majors, we want whatever we can get, but like I said it’s better than nothing. But we’re still very, very disappointed with what they did.”

Many teachers whos jobs are in jeopardy showed gratitude to their students for showing up and supporting them, but are still concerned about what the future holds for their pupils.