WKU Scraps Plan to Cut Employee Salaries, Will Seek Out Other Cost-Saving Measures

May 15, 2020

Credit WKU

Western Kentucky University will not use faculty and staff salary reductions to balance its budget for the 2021 fiscal year. 

The decision was announced Friday morning during the Board of Regents quarterly meeting.

The reversal comes a week after the university sent a campus email identifying $2.4 million in savings through tiered salary reductions ranging from 2.5 to 10 percent. 

The pay cuts would have taken effect on July 1. WKU President Timothy Caboni said the university will look for other ways to cut $27 million from its budget, the result of uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and a projected decline in state funding.

"I appreciate some pushback, some creative thought, lots of different comments about the way we are going to manage through a difficult year," Caboni told reporters following the meeting.

The school has identified other cost-saving measures, including continuing freezes on hiring and travel, with limited exceptions. WKU is also identifying performance improvements and efficiencies across campus. 

The university is expecting its largest freshmen in 18 years this fall.  President Caboni said the projected enrollment boost coupled with improving retention rates put the school in a stronger position meet its budget challenges.

A final budget proposal will be brought to the Board of Regents in a special called meeting set for June 26. 

In other business, Regents approved a 10-year contract with Barnes and Noble to manage the WKU bookstore and transferred General Counsel Deborah Wilkins to the position of Senior Advisor/Interim Title IX Coordinator. 

The board also approved the appointment of Assistant General Counsel Andrea Anderson to General Counsel.  All of the moves are effective July 1.