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More Layoffs Coming At WMU

The slide lays out Western's best and worst case budget scenarios in a red and yellow chart
Sehvilla Mann

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.


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.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in January 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. Before that she covered a variety of topics, including environmental issues, for Bloomington, Indiana NPR and PBS affiliates WFIU and WTIU. She’s also written and produced stories for the Pacifica Network and WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Sehvilla holds a B.A. in French from Earlham College and an M.A. in journalism from Indiana University.
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