WMU News

President Bailey reinstitutes hiring freeze

Oct. 22, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Dr. Judith I. Bailey, president of Western Michigan University, issued an open letter to the university's faculty and staff this afternoon regarding the continuing budget crisis in Michigan. In her message, Bailey announced a new hiring freeze, effective immediately. The complete text of the president's message follows.

Dear Colleagues:

You've undoubtedly heard news reports over the past week about the dire budget issues Michigan faces for the 2004 fiscal year (2003-'04 academic year). On Oct.14, the state announced an estimated budget shortfall of $898 million. On Oct. 20, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan projected a continuing budget deficit into FY 2005 of approximately $1 billion.

After a summer of painful lay-offs and budget cuts, I deeply regret having to raise the prospect of even more difficult times ahead. Since the reductions implemented this summer, you have all worked
exceptionally hard on behalf of our students and for this I am exceedingly grateful and proud. During this period, I have repeatedly made the point in Lansing that ours is among the best and
most efficient operations in the state. However, since higher education represents a full 22 percent of the state general fund budget, it is an inescapable conclusion that we will be asked to make further reductions to help bring the state's budget back into balance.

Therefore, effective immediately, I am instituting a new hiring freeze so that we can begin to capture savings from vacant positions. The specific guidelines regarding the freeze can be found on Human Resources' Web site soon. I am also asking each of you to reduce spending, especially on travel, equipment, and other discretionary purchases as much as possible.

I cannot stress enough how important it is that we start now to prepare for coming budget cuts. Everything we do now will prepare us to deal with the realities of the future. Our goal must be to both preserve our university's quality and keep in place the caring and committed work force that makes this institution run.

Judith I. Bailey

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

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