Citing its financial health, including decreased enrollment, Western Illinois University has announced cost-cutting measures, including position reductions across its system, according to a WIU statement released Friday.
Western has notified 132 faculty and staff members university-wide that they will be laid off, according to WIU. Nine more will have the lengths of their contracts reduced. The university said it will assist the affected employees with career counseling and job searching.
Western broke the total down by general job description:
Academic Support: 12
Civil Service: 89
Civil service is a lump category covering a huge number of job descriptions in areas including accounting, medical and food service, according to the State Universities Civil Service System.
Of these, 12 are from the riverfront campus. There were two faculty, two academic support and eight civil service, the university said.
The layoffs are not causing any departments or offices to close.
With these layoffs and other cost-cutting measures, Western is anticipating saving $20 million during the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years, according to the university. The amount could change depending on whether other employees choose to leave their positions on their own or retire.
How much of the total anticipated savings would be related to the layoffs was not available Friday, the university said.
This is not the first large group of employees to leave Western recently, WIU said. In December, 57 took an offered retirement incentive.
Recently released enrollment data from WIU shows the number of students attending classes this semester at the Macomb campus fell by almost 14 percent compared with a year ago, according to an AP report.
The AP story said enrollment in Macomb this semester is about 5,600, compared to about 6,500 last spring. Total enrollment at WIU's Macomb and Moline campuses this spring is about 7,900, down 8 percent from last spring, the story said. Total WIU enrollment was almost 12,0000 students in 2009.
The leadership of the Illinois Federation of Teachers issued a statement Friday about the university’s announcement. The IFT represents faculty and staff through the University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100.
“We strongly support our members who serve students at WIU and join them in calling for an emergency appropriation to help their community through this difficult chapter,” Dan Montgomery, the IFT president, said. “It is critical that Western Illinois University remain strong not only for the faculty and students who call it home, but for the broader region that relies on this vital economic engine.”
Bill Thompson, Western’s UPI president, blamed neglect on the part of the state and years of declining enrollment for Western’s condition.
“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,” he said in the release. “Our union will protect our members' rights during these layoffs and, as always, help lead the way into the future.”