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WVU cuts 16 library jobs, bringing job loss to around 300 positions in budget crunch


WVU cuts 16 library jobs, bringing job loss to around 300 positions in budget crunch

Dec 08, 2023 | 6:10 pm ET
By Amelia Ferrell Knisely
WVU cuts 16 library jobs, bringing job loss to around 300 positions in budget crunch
The West Virginia University Downtown Library in Morgantown, W.Va. (WVU Today | Courtesy photo)

West Virginia University’s library system will lose 16 employees amid a budget strain, bringing the job cuts this year to around 300 at the state’s largest university.

The news, announced by WVU leaders on Friday evening, is the latest employment reduction as leaders look to make up for a $45 million budget shortfall.

Hundreds of jobs have been eliminated after a first round of cuts in the summer followed by a heavily-criticized decision by the board of governors in September to eliminate 143 faculty positions. Eight additional positions, including faculty, were eliminated from the business college. 

University leaders also cut 28 academic majors and 10 minors as part of the changes, then reviewed academic support programs, like the library, to see where they could save additional money. 

The WVU libraries system is already operating on a 30% reduced budget this year. They have reduced staffing and previously suspended purchases of new educational materials, including books.

Library staff were asked to find $800,000 in savings. A university press release said a restructuring at the library, including 16 job cuts, will result in “an estimated $790,000 in personnel savings.”

Nine staff members left voluntarily and seven staff members’ employment will not be renewed when their contracts end next year. 

Students and faculty aren’t expected to see a disruption in library services or a reduction in materials, according to the university. 

“The resources and support provided by our libraries are critical to the success of students, faculty, staff and the community, so we worked closely with [Library] Dean Karen Diaz as she and her team created a plan that reflects our continued commitment to quality services,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed.

Additionally, the Teaching and Learning Commons, which provides teaching support and resources for faculty and graduate students, will be reorganized and lose positions.

Nine of its current employees will continue only through the current fiscal year, according to the university, and 17 of its employees will transition to other campus units.

WVU President E. Gordon Gee has emphasized that, following the job cuts, the university’s finances are “strong.” The swift employment decisions have helped close the multi-million dollar financial gap, he said in October

However, on Dec. 6, WVU administrators indicated that more cuts could be coming as budget reviews continue throughout the winter, according to The Charleston Gazette-Mail

Financial reviews continue at the university’s Beckley and Keyser campuses that could result in additional job loss. 

Earlier this year, faculty overwhelmingly passed a symbolic vote of no confidence in Gee, citing financial mismanagement that will harm the university’s reputation educational opportunities. 

The board of governors responded to the vote by publicly stating their support for Gee and his efforts to create “a modern land-grant university” amid declining student enrollment and dwindling state support for public universities.