MACOMB, Ill. (WEEK) — Western Illinois University sent layoff notices to 132 employees Friday.
A university spokeswoman said the employees impacted include faculty and staff across the university. An additional nine employees saw their contract term lengths reduced.
“As a result of the current budget situation, including decreased enrollment, it is necessary to reduce our expenditures, including position reductions across the University. We have pledged to work with employees to provide career counseling and assistance with employment searches,” said WIU President Jack Thomas in a statement.
The university has struggled with declining enrollment for several years. A last-ditch effort, #BuyIntoWIU, sought to stave off the layoffs.
“Unfortunately, 20 years of state disinvestment and 12 years of unimpeded enrollment decline have brought Western Illinois to the point we are today. In order to avoid a potential catastrophe in the fall when the university may be unable to meet payroll, WIU caused a catastrophe now, the largest layoff in its history,” said Bill Thompson, president of the WIU chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois union. “This announcement is devastating on all fronts. 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. Our union will protect our members’ rights during these layoffs and, as always, help lead the way into the future.”