Western Michigan announces layoffs, pay cuts due to coronavirus

Coronavirus

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Anticipating a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall because of the coronavirus, Western Michigan University announced it is laying off about 240 employees.

WMU President Edward Montgomery announced the move in a Thursday letter, saying the university didn’t know “if or when these employees may be recalled.”

Montgomery added he and several other top-level administrators will take 10% pay cuts, the next level down will take 5% pay cuts and still others a 2.25% cut for the next fiscal year.

The university blamed closures aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus, saying it has already lost $45 million this fiscal year. It says the budget shortfall for the upcoming 2020-21 fiscal year (which starts July 1) could reach $85 million.

Western had already cut costs by banning travel and canceling construction projects, among other things. It had also put a freeze on hiring, which it now says will be extended through June 30, 2021.

But, it said, “With compensation accounting for nearly 70 percent of our expenses, we will not be able to avoid impacting WMU employees.”

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