WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Crisis of Confidence

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University is being told to release recordings from more closed door meetings of its Board of Trustees.

Photos courtesy of WIU

More changes are coming to Western Illinois University's Board of Trustees. Governor J.B. Pritzker has withdrawn the nominations of Nick Padgett and Jackie Thompson.

Rich Egger

At the beginning of their June 14 meeting, Western Illinois University trustees agreed to a plan that calls for WIU President Jack Thomas to step down on June 30.  After the 7.5 hour meeting, Tri States Public Radio talked to Board of Trustees Chairperson Greg Aguilar about the deal.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas said his final day on the job will be June 30, 2019, ending a presidency marred by employee layoffs, declining student enrollment, and increasing tensions between the administration and faculty. Dr. Thomas made the announcement at the beginning of the Friday, June 14 Board of Trustees meeting in Macomb.

Bainter Out at WIU

May 28, 2019
Rich Egger

A long-time administrator at Western Illinois University has left the institution. A spokesperson is saying little about his departure.

Courtesy WIU

Western Illinois University has been making headlines for decreasing enrollment, employee layoffs, and program cuts. Yet, some students are still drawn to Western. A few of them are even willing to travel a great distance to attend WIU.

Rich Egger

Members of Western Illinois University's new Board of Trustees barely got to introduce themselves to each other before holding their first meeting.  And even though they are just getting to know each other, one of their first tasks was to elect a new chairperson.

Rich Egger

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is cleaning house at Western Illinois University. Pritzker said he is appointing seven new people to the eight member Board of Trustees.  The only holdover is student Justin Brown. Student members are elected to the board by fellow students.

Time for a Change of Direction and Leadership

Mar 17, 2019
Western Illinois University

This is a Commentary.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are not necessarily those of Western Illinois University or Tri States Public Radio.

Basic Premises

It has become clear to many retired Western Illinois University (WIU) employees, as well as many current employees and alumni, and Macomb/McDonough County community members, that our university is facing unprecedented problems. 

WIU Supporters Deliver "Buy Into Western" Petition; Governor Responds

Mar 15, 2019
Photo of the group taken in the Rotunda / Austin Thompson with TnT Video

Supporters of Western Illinois University traveled to Springfield Thursday to hand deliver a petition to the governor's office. The governor was out of town at the time, but he did address it and the university during a visit to Quincy.

Rich Egger

The latest audio recordings of illegal discussions held by Western Illinois University's administration and Board of Trustees garned significant conversation during the most recent Faculty Senate meeting.

Rich Egger

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees held closed door meetings with the administration on June 1, 2018 and June 7, 2018. Many of the issues discussed during those meetings should have been talked about in public, as per the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA).

WIU: 10 Academic Programs Up for Elimination

Mar 7, 2019
Courtesy WIU

Western Illinois University's Provost Office released final recommendations to the Board of Trustees on Thursday regarding which academic programs should be eliminated.

WIU Rally: "Stand Up, Fight Back"

Mar 7, 2019
Emily Boyer / Tri States Public Radio

A large crowd gathered late Wednesday afternoon in front of Western Illinois University's main administrative building on the Macomb campus.

Faculty, students, staff, and community members huddled on the steps of Sherman Hall in the cold, chanting, and waving signs with messages such as "Faculty is committed to WIU,"  "Teaching makes admin jobs possible," and "Fight for our families." The group was there for a rally in support of the 132 employees who received layoff notices on March 1.

Courtesy WIU

Organizers of the Buy into Western Illinois University petition drive feel their effort has taken on greater urgency in the aftermath of the latest round of layoffs at the institution.  Western sent 132 layoff notices to faculty and staff from across the university on March 1. 

WIU Sends Out More Layoff Notices

Mar 1, 2019
Emily Boyer / TSPR

Western Illinois University emailed layoff notices on Friday to 132 employees, which is about 8% of the total workforce.

Western Illinois University

There is a list of 18 academic programs at Western Illinois University being considered for elimination. A report reviewing each of them has been turned over to the administration and decisions are expected soon.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University has laid off workers and eliminated vacant positions the past few years as it grappled with declines in revenues and student enrollment.  Yet the administration found the money to create a well-paid temporary position for one of its own.

WIU Enrollment Continues Downward Trend

Feb 5, 2019
Rich Egger

According to figures collected and released by Western Illinois University, student enrollment dropped again this spring. Enrollment at the Macomb campus for the Spring 2019 semester is down about 900 students, or 14% compared to Spring 2018. Western reported a total of 5,645 students taking classes in Macomb this semester.

Rich Egger

New Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has said he will prioritize funding for the state's colleges and universities.  Nonetheless, the Western Illinois University administration has said more deep budget cuts might be necessary.

Rich Egger/Emily Boyer

Western Illinois University's Fact Book shows the school's workforce decreased around 12% in the past four years – from 2,403 employees in the fall of 2015 to 2,113 this fall.  The decrease can be attributed to layoffs, resignations, attrition, and early retirement programs.  Tri States Public Radio spoke with three WIU employees who received layoff notices to learn how they're doing now.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas has delayed an announcement on budget cuts.  But he is warning that deep cuts are still necessary.

Western Illinois University

Two more members of the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees say they will be leaving the board.

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees (BoT) has lost another member, and it appears as though his resignation is nearly two years late.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University's Faculty Senate is asking the university's Board of Trustees (BoT) to make public numereous closed door meeting minutes and audio recordings. The request comes after the BoT was found to have violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA). 

WIU Announces More Budget Cuts

Nov 16, 2018
Rich Egger

In an email and web post titled "Budget Update," Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas announced on Thursday that the university is in a structural budget deficit and expenditures are outpacing revenues. Dr. Thomas said that as a result, WIU plans to cut $5 million from this year’s budget and a total of $21 million from the budget for Fiscal Year 2020, which begins July 1, 2019.

Rich Egger

The recording of a closed door meeting held by the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees reveals board members repeatedly violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA).

TSPR

Dr. Kathy Neumann served as Western Illinois University's interim provost for more than three years before the school announced this week that she will be leaving the position.  She previously served as Dean of the College of Business and Technology at Western.

WIU Considers Eliminating 18 Academic Programs

Oct 25, 2018
TSPR

Western Illinois University is considering whether to eliminate more academic programs as it continues to grapple with falling student enrollment numbers and looks to get back on solid financial footing.

Rich Egger

Almost everything the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees discussed during a closed door meeting on June 28, 2018 must be made public, according to the Illinois Attorney General's office, which found [.pdf] the Board violated the state's Open Meetings Act (OMA).

Pages