CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — While in town for their monthly interim committee meetings, state lawmakers were briefed in a hearing at the capitol Monday morning about West Virginia University.
The status of current and future staffing and coursework at West Virginia University is front and center among students and employees in Morgantown. Members of the legislature’s joint committee on finance were briefed on the matter and shared the same worries.
Right now, the school is facing a $45 million budget shortfall, with 145 faculty and staff jobs on the chopping block. The cost of utilities and health insurance rose $19 million last year. The biggest problem was the student population dropping by 2,000 in the COVID-19 years.
“Our biggest revenue is the tuition we generate from our students. We have to have academic programming that drives enrollment if we are going to be successful. It’s a simple fact,” said Rob Alsop, a WVU Vice President.
“I am always optimistic about WVU’s future. We are the flagship university of our state, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, so,” said State Sen. Mike Caputo, (D) Marion.
WVU’s Board of Governors will meet and vote this coming Friday, on the recommended staffing and program cuts. As of now, university leaders are not asking for any increase in tuition.
There were no requests for additional legislative funding today. And it’s widely expected that WVU President Gordon Gee will remain as president until his term ends in June 2025.
Last week, the faculty passed a “no confidence” vote against President Gee. On Monday, Vice President Rob Alsop said the faculty has the right to speak out, but Gee’s status remains unchanged.