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Wheeling Jesuit Declares Financial Exigency

March 12, 2019
 
 

West Virginia’s Wheeling Jesuit University, which sold its campus in 2017 to help pay down millions in debt, has declared financial exigency, Michael Mihalyo, the university’s president, said Monday.

In a letter to campus, Mihalyo wrote that “continued financial challenges” required the move. The university, he said, doesn’t have the resources “to bridge the gap between highly discounted enrollment, associated academic and athletic programming costs, and the revenue needed to support the institution’s operational expenses.”

Traditionally defined as an “imminent financial crisis which threatens the survival of the institution as a whole,” financial exigency has been used in the past to terminate long-standing, often tenured faculty.

The American Association of University Professors has said institutions should lay off such professors “only as a last resort, after every effort has been made to meet the need in other ways and to find for the teacher other employment in the institution.”

Mihalyo said the Board of Trustees approved the move in a special session held Friday. Board members and others at the university will work with state and government officials, as well as regional leaders and Wheeling’s accreditor, “to determine the best path forward,” he said.

Wheeling in 2017 offered early retirement to about one-tenth of its 400 employees in a bid to balance an estimated $30 million annual budget.

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