CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – The Joint Committee on Finance of the West Virginia Legislature assembled on Monday as part of September’s Interim Sessions of the Legislature.
The Committee heard from West Virginia University Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Rob Alsop, who spoke of the planned restructuring of the university in the face of an estimated budget shortfall of $45 million.
Previously scheduled to be in attendance for the session was WVU president Gordon Gee, who notably was not present on Monday due to an apparent personal matter. In spite of an abundant “no confidence” vote last week from university faculty members, Alsop assured members of the Joint Committee on Finance that Gee’s position with the university was, in fact, secure.
The immense budget issue faced by the university will purportedly be addressed through increases in student tuition, program cuts, faculty cuts, and implementation of financial reserve funds.
Following recently announced program changes, lawmakers present questioned the likelihood that students at the university would be able to obtain a well-rounded educational experience, along with the university’s likelihood of retaining its R1 research university status.
Monday’s session saw members of the committee assured that the university’s R1 research university status would not be significantly impacted by the recently implemented changes. Furthermore, it was asserted that the bulk of cuts planned for university programs would impact those with relatively low enrollment.
“If I thought there was a realistic opportunity to get another $50 million or $60 million in base funding every year for WVU, we would have been down here,” said Alsop during the meeting. “But one time-funding is not going to fix the enrollment challenges long-term.”
Additional LOOTPRESS coverage of the ongoing Interim Sessions of the West Virginia Legislature can be found here.