More Layoffs Coming At WMU

May 11, 2020

A slide presented in WMU's town hall meeting today
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Western Michigan University is getting ready to let more workers go because of the COVID-19 shutdown, President Edward Montgomery said in a virtual town hall meeting today, where administrators also made their case for pressing forward with some construction.

Montgomery said Western is planning for the worst case, an $85 million shortfall and a 20 percent budget cut.

“We’re planning at the high end so that we’re fully prepared in the fall when our budget picture firms up around August or early September,” Montgomery said.

He added that the best case is a 10 percent budget cut.

Montgomery said Western is still working out the details of the layoffs.

Construction

At the meeting, administrators defended plans to continue three building projects. Western Vice President for Business and Finance Jan Van Der Kley said a new aviation facility is almost done and so is the Arcadia Flats student housing.

The aviation center is largely funded by the state and Western cannot easily pull its stake in the project, Van Der Kley said.

A new student union to replace the Bernhard Center is less far along. But Van Der Kley said that project should go forward as well.

“We would be having to put in so much money for the Bernhard Center, it would really be sinking good money into not a good situation,” she said.

Van Der Kley said Western had canceled $32 million in other construction.