WMU News

Bailey updates campus community on layoffs, hiring freeze

Aug. 7, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Dr. Judith I. Bailey, president of Western Michigan University, issued a message to the campus community today regarding recently announced job reductions, layoffs and the hiring freeze at the university. The following is the complete text of the president's message.

To the Campus Community:

The past three weeks have been a difficult time in the life of our University. The loss of state appropriations forced us to take significant steps to reduce our base budget, the most painful of
which was the reduction in positions, resulting in layoffs. I want to keep you fully apprised about how the layoff process is proceeding.

At this point, layoff notifications are nearly finished. There still remains the possibility of a small number of employee layoffs resulting from our bumping process. We continue to offer all of the
support and assistance we can to those members of our community whose jobs were affected due to the major reduction in our funding from the state.

In the end, through careful evaluation of vacant positions, we were able to secure positions for all but 32 of our current employees. When we met in Town Hall sessions July 17 and 18, I told you the
budget crisis would necessitate a reduction in our work force of 61 positions through layoffs. During those meetings, I also pledged that the senior staff and I would work strenuously to reduce the number of employees who would be laid off. I feel great empathy for those whose jobs we could not save, and I wish the layoffs could have been avoided.

I am pleased, however, that through careful planning, we have been able to preserve jobs for many of our colleagues. Because of last winter's hiring freeze, which progressed into this spring's "deep
freeze," there were a number of vacant positions that we retained in order to maintain critical University services. These positions were not included in the number of vacancies that were cut to meet our budget-driven need to eliminate 181 full-time positions. By working very hard to match the requirements of the vacant positions with the skill sets of the employees whose jobs were being eliminated, we were able to significantly reduce the final number of layoffs.

As the academic year begins, there are still a small number of vacancies we need to fill. For that reason, I am temporarily lifting the hiring freeze so the University can fill those vacancies and continue to operate at the level of support our students deserve and need as they pursue their University education.

I continue to be deeply appreciative of your patience and support and I look forward to working with you as we begin the academic year together.

Thank you for your efforts on behalf of our wonderful University community.


Judith I. Bailey

Media contact: Matt Kurz, 269 387-8400, matt.kurz@wmich.edu

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