WIU BoT concludes first meeting of school year

MACOMB, Ill. (NEWS3) — The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees adjourned their first meeting of the school year Friday afternoon after discussing and passing several key motions.

The board canceled their July meeting after a quorum could not be met after two board members were removed by Gov. J.B. Pritkzer.

Days before the board was set to meet, Pritzker announced the appointment of two new board members.

WIU alumni Carin Stutz, Chicago, and Patrick Twomey, Macomb, both served their first BoT meeting Thursday and Friday.

The board appointed Acting President Dr. Martin Abraham to the interim president of the University during Thursday afternoon’s meeting.

The board approved Abraham salary of $24,500 per month until June 30, 2020. Abraham has been the acting president for the past three months.

During Friday’s meeting, the approved the University’s All Funds budget. WIU’s total budget for the 2020 fiscal year is $210.6 million, which is about $20 million less than last fiscal year’s budget.

A key point throughout the two-day session was enrollment. Members from multiple departments cited dropping enrollment as the culprit for budget cuts, deficit spending and program shrinkage.

WIU’s enrollment has been on a steady decline over the past four years, and this fall, the university saw its smallest decline since 2015.

According to WIU’s Institutional Research and Planning 10th-day results, total enrollment for fall 2019 is 7,624. In fall 2018, Western had 8,502 students.

Another major point of discussion during the board meeting was the funding for Tri-States Public Radio. The public radio station had its funding cut completely in March of this year.

TSPR News Director Rich Egger was called to the chairperson’s seat during the meeting to clarify the funding situation for the station.

No resolution was reached regarding Tri-States’s funding during the meeting, but board members hope to bring up the topic during their next meeting.

The BoT will meet again Thursday, Dec. 12, at 5 p.m. in the University Union Grand Ballroom.