Bailey shares budget decisions with campus community
July 18, 2003
KALAMAZOO -- Nearly 1,000 members of the Western Michigan University campus community--faculty, staff and students--were able to attend one of three "Town Hall" meetings July 17 and 18, to hear President Judith I. Bailey give a detailed explanation of the process used and the factors that led to this week's announcement of tuition increases and University budget cuts.
For many, it was the first opportunity to gauge just how deeply anticipated staff layoffs would impact their areas, although, at each meeting, Bailey delivered the encouraging news that the actual number of employees laid off might be reduced from the previously announced 61 to somewhere in the mid-30s.
"We think that for many of those people in the 61 positions we've identified, we may be able to transfer them into vacant positions," Bailey told those attending. "The vice presidents and I are currently evaluating those openings and the skill sets of the people involved to see if they match. We may be able to significantly reduce the layoffs."
Bailey noted that, in addition to any new opportunities identified to transfer employees into, 32 such transfers are already built into the budget cut plan and 56 positions will remain vacant. A number of other part-time, student and graduate student positions also will not be filled, bringing the job elimination number to the equivalent of 181 full-time positions.
In response to questions from the audience at each of the three sessions, Bailey said senior University officials will sign off on budget cutting decisions made Universitywide, and most affected employees would be notified within a week.
Using a series of charts, the president presented detailed information on WMU's 2003-04 budget and the impact of the $10.9 million in budget cuts and the 12.4 percent tuition increase. Both the cuts and tuition increase are designed to address a $34.8 million shortfall caused by a $12.5 million reduction in state appropriations and $22 million increase in costs. The budget and tuition figures were approved by the Board of Trustees at its July 16 meeting. To view the charts used in Bailey's presentation, visit the president's Web site at <www.wmich.edu/president/budget>.
The president lauded the community for its history of working together to get trough difficult times and noted that the University has experienced economic problems of this magnitude only twice before in its 100-year history--once during the Great Depression, when Dwight Waldo was president, and again in the early 1980s, during President John Bernhard's tenure.
"We are a community, and we come together to support each other both in celebratory times and difficult times," Bailey said. "We will work together to get through this and remain the strong, caring, involved community that first attracted me here."
Media contact: Matt Kurz, 269 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org