The following is a statement released by the Office of Western Illinois President Jack Thomas:
“Dear University Community,
As you are aware, Western Illinois University is in a structural budget deficit where expenditures are outpacing revenues. We must continue to take action to contain our expenditures and increase our revenues, which have decreased due to the level of state support and lower enrollments.
As I stated at the August University Assembly, as well as subsequent Board of Trustees meetings, we will work with the deans, chairs, and faculty as the interim provost works with the Academic Program Elimination Review (APER) Committee. We have begun the implementation of budget reductions University-wide. We will continue working with all areas to decrease operating costs, and we will work together to increase efficiencies across the University.
This morning, I met with vice presidents, deans, directors, and department heads to further engage in budget reduction discussions. We will reduce expenditures by $5 million this fiscal year to address our immediate needs. In addition, each division will reduce its budget for Fiscal Year 2020. This will be done to decrease the University’s annual budgeted expenditures by $21 million for FY20. We are working with vice presidents, deans, and directors to identify budget reductions, which will include personnel, within each respective division.
Administrative Services, Student Services, Advancement and Public Services, Quad Cities, and the Office of the President will identify their respective proposed reductions by November 30, and Academic Affairs will identify its proposed reductions by Dec. 7. Decisions will be announced at the end of January.
While reductions are necessary, we cannot continue to reduce our way out of these fiscal challenges. We must grow as an institution. As such, we will be announcing a University-wide initiative as we all work together to increase enrollment, retention, and graduation rates. I want to emphasize again that student recruitment and retention efforts are everyone’s responsibility.
We have overcome many challenges in our 118-year history, challenges that tested our resolve, and yet our institution emerged stronger. We will overcome these current challenges, and we will pull our University through together. Thank you for your hard work and continued sacrifices.