West Virginia University President Gordon Gee issued the following statement after speaking to members of the University’s Faculty Senate about ongoing Transformation efforts during a Monday (Aug. 28) meeting at the College of Law.
The meeting followed an announcement that the Faculty Senate Office has received a petition to convene a meeting of the University Assembly next month for consideration of a no-confidence resolution for President Gee and a resolution calling for a freeze of the University’s Academic Transformation process.
“I realize this is a stressful time for everyone on our campus and I understand that change is very difficult. But as I have stated before, though difficult, change is necessary within higher education.
“I want to be clear that West Virginia University is not dismantling higher education —but we are disrupting it. I have seen numerous stories and posts about how we are ‘gutting’ or ‘eviscerating’ our University. That is simply not factual.
“What is factual is that we have majors that have low student enrollment and are not cost effective to operate. That is why we have made the recommendations for reduction or discontinuance. Over the course of Academic Transformation, which began at the start of 2021, many of these programs were notified that they were not operating at an optimum level, including declining enrollments. They were provided then with specific recommendations for improvement.
“This does not mean the University does not value those programs or the people involved in those programs. But we must balance that value with the real student demand and the actual costs of delivery. That is what we are doing within the processes as outlined in the Board of Governors rules.
“I understand we are making very hard decisions that will affect people’s lives and careers. I also understand there is frustration and anger regarding the process, and I am a logical choice for those feelings. I accept that criticism as it comes with the job.
“And while I know this is difficult, I also believe very deeply in what we are doing. And we must move forward.”
MEDIA CONTACT: April Kaull
Executive Director of Communications
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