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Western Illinois University

WIU Program Elimination Review Underway

Dec 4, 2018
Rich Egger

A committee at Western Illinois University is working to review a list of academic programs being considered for elimination. Its report isn't due until the spring semester. But an audio recording from a Board of Trustees meeting in late June indicates there might already be a plan in place.

When the Westboro Baptist Church announced it would picket at Western Illinois University, the school and the community got together to create a counter-demonstration: The Rally for Love.

Rich Egger

The University Professionals of Illinois (UPI) has asked the McDonough County State's Attorney's office to conduct a criminal investigation of the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees, University President Jack Thomas, and other officers of the institution.

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.

WIU Plans "Rally for Love" to Combat Hate

Nov 15, 2018
Courtesy WIU

Macomb community members and Western Illinois University faculty, students, and staff sprang to action this week planning a counter-protest after they learned Westboro Baptist Church will stage a protest on WIU's campus this weekend.

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.

Petition Asks Governor to Release Funding for CPA

Oct 29, 2018
WIU

There is a renewed effort to secure funding for a major arts project in Macomb. The Center for Performing Arts has long been on Western Illinois University's wish list.

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).

Rich Egger

More members of the public are asking the decision-makers at Western Illinois University to restore funding to its public radio station. Half-a-dozen people used the public comment period during the September 28 Board of Trustees meeting to address the administration's plan to end appropriated funding for Tri States Public Radio on March 1, 2019.

Rich Egger

Tri States Public Radio filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Western Illinois University, hoping to gain more insight about how the administration came to the decision to zero-out appropriated funding for TSPR beginning March 1, 2019.

Panoramic photo by Rich Egger

Western Illinois University began its 25th Annual Founders' Day celebration Monday afternoon with Lana Myers ringing a bell from the front steps of Sherman Hall.

WIU Receives Money for Deferred Maintenance

Sep 17, 2018
Emily Boyer

Western Illinois University has received $9.5 million from the state of Illinois for capital improvement projects. But, that's just a drop in the bucket of what it would take to address the backlog of deferred maintenance.

Illinois’ public universities have finished tallying up their student bodies for the new school year, and once again it’s a mix of winners and losers.

WIU Enrollment Down but Better than Expected

Sep 6, 2018
TSPR

Student enrollment at Western Illinois University this fall is down 10% from last year with a total student enrollment of 8,502 for both the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses.

Rich Egger

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees said in June it was working to finalize a new contract with WIU President Jack Thomas. The two sides now have agreed to continue operating under the terms reached when Dr. Thomas was named president seven years ago.

One of Springfield’s top Republican negotiators on higher education said freeing up more money for financial aid might look easy compared to the coming debate over a new funding formula for state universities.

WIU Ends Furlough Program for Administrators

Aug 27, 2018
TSPR

Western Illinois University is still trying to secure its financial footing due to the two-year state budget impasse and declining student enrollment. President Jack Thomas has said repeatedly that everything is on the table when it comes to making cost saving measures. But it turns out there is one exception:  the furlough program.

Rich Egger

The Western Illinois University administration and Board of Trustees caught an earful Friday morning about the decision to zero out funding for Tri States Public Radio.  But the comments did not persuade them to change course.

The same day that Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas and the Board of Trustees announced that Tri States Public Radio will "become a self-funded department within the University structure and will be responsible for generating its revenue needs, including personnel expenditures, effective March 1, 2019," the lead story on the WIU website lauded the accomplishments of its nationally award winning Broadcasting and Journalism students.   What??!!??   

TSPR's Emily Boyer

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner brought his re-election campaign to the McDonough County Republican headquarters, where he said he wants to make more state  funding available for higher education.

After his State of the University speech, Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas told reporters, "We have made cuts and we will have to continue to make those cuts and we will do the necessary things that we have to do."

Another Year of Change Ahead for WIU

Aug 16, 2018
TSPR Emily Boyer

Western Illinois University’s president used his State of the University address during Thursday's University Assembly to say this will be a year of change at the institution.

New Clubhouse at Harry Mussatto Golf Course

Aug 14, 2018
TSPR Emily Boyer

The newest building at Western Illinois University isn't located on the main campus in Macomb but rather at the school's golf course.

Rich Egger

The new school year begins August 20 at Western Illinois University -- less than two weeks from now.  But there is still no contract in place for President Jack Thomas (see editor's note below for update).

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University announced in June plans to lay off two dozen faculty members and eliminate another 62 positions that are either vacant or soon to become vacant.  Tri States Public Radio previously reported a breakdown of the faculty layoffs. But, we're just now learning more about the 62 positions slated for elimination.  The data comes from Western's response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

WIU Details Academic Realignment

Jul 16, 2018
TSPR's Rich Egger

Western Illinois University laid out its plans for restructuring and realigning its academic offerings during a much anticipated news conference on Monday.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University has seen a sharp drop in student enrollment in recent years, which means less money coming in through tuition and fees.  That, combined with decreases in state financial support – especially during the two-year state budget impasse – hurt the university's finances, leading to layoffs, furloughs, and an early retirement program.

Rich Egger

Leaders at Western Illinois University said they will unveil details about the school's realignment plans on July 16.  They said everything is being evaluated so it's too soon to discuss what might be included in the plans.

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