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Western Illinois University

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.

Flooding by the Mississippi River is providing some real world lessons for students at Western Illinois University in the Quad Cities. 

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.

Near the beginning of Friday's six hour Board of Trustees meeting in Macomb, Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas talked about the various steering teams and task forces he has put together to help guide the university and position it for the future. But board members felt something was missing.

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.

Mike Inman Seeks Reelection as Macomb Mayor

Mar 28, 2019
Emily Boyer / Tri States Public Radio

Macomb voters will choose who will serve as the city's mayor for the next four years when they go to the polls on April 2. Current Mayor Mike Inman is running for a third term. He is not opposed on the ballot, but Kristen-Diane Pollock is running as a write-in candidate for mayor.

Emily Boyer / Tri States Public Radio

Macomb voters will choose who will serve as the city's mayor for the next four years when they go to the polls on April 2. Kristen-Diane (Jacqueline) Pollock is a write-in candidate in Macomb's mayoral race. Pollock is running against Mayor Mike Inman, who is seeking a third term in office.

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.

It's Time to Get Off the Bench

Mar 6, 2019
Rich Egger

It's been about three years since the first public rumblings of a troubled future for Western Illinois University.   With last week's news of more WIU layoffs in the face of declining enrollment and funding limitations, I went back to review this Facebook post that I wrote in April, 2016, after the musician Prince passed away: 

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.

Advocate for the Tri-States Region. Sign the Petition Today

Feb 25, 2019
Rich Egger

Last week, Dr. Bill Thompson wrote to the UPI Local 4100 membership, "The university is about to go through a third round of layoffs. The last round was only eight months ago. WIU remains in fiscal peril."

As we all know, any layoffs taking place now would be a repeated injury, after we have suffered through more than one previous devastating loss of human resources from our community and region.

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.

A Budgetary Tale of Two Campuses

Feb 22, 2019
Images from Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University has two campuses: Macomb and the Quad Cities. But that is not readily apparent when looking at the school's overall budget because it does not include a breakdown of revenue and expenses by campus. A new report aims to examine those costs.

WIU Reclassifies Employees Ahead of Layoffs

Feb 18, 2019
Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University recently went through a major reorganization of its employees. According to the Western Factbook, WIU employs around 1,600 people. Only 39% of those jobs were classified as civil service last fall. Jeff Brownfield, Executive Director of the State Universities Civil Service System, believes that figure should be higher.

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.

Clow Steps In As WIU Interim Provost

Jan 24, 2019
Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University's new interim provost said plans for academic realignment are on hold for now. Billy Clow, the former dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, took over as interim provost at the start of the new year.

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).