BY JARETT LEWIS
CHARLESTON — Alumni and stakeholders of West Virginia University are invited to participate in several forum discussions to share their thoughts and vision for the university in the midst of proposed cuts to multiple majors and the elimination of dozens of faculty positions.
Create West Virginia held its first of four planned forums in Charleston earlier this week. Participants were given the chance to speak and offer their vision for how they wish to see the institution look for the future.
In Morgantown, a session is planned for Wednesday, with a time and location to be determined.
Many in the WVU community have voiced concerns in the past few weeks about the possibility of programs and positions being cut out as proposed in the university’s Academic Transformation plans. Students have protested on campus and staff members have also voiced their thoughts.
Rebecca Kimmons, a founding member of Create West Virginia, came up with the idea for the “Visioning Sessions for a future WVU.” She and Dan Page, the founding editor-in-chief of the State Journal, both graduated from the WVU School of Journalism in 1971. Page said with the recent announcements and proposals due to the school’s budget issues, he saw an opportunity to become a better alumnus.
“I have great respect for the university, and in order to be a better alumnus, I have to have better dialogue with those who help run WVU,” Page said.
The sessions are open to anyone, and whether you would like to comment on the possibility of programs being eliminated, or want to detail some aspirations for the school’s future, Create WV is inviting you to the discussions.
At the conclusion of the fourth session, Corey Zinn, executive director of Create WV, said they will pull together all the information presented by the alumni and stakeholders and compile it into a report and send it to the WVU Board of Governors on Sept. 8.
“We’ve been trying to aggregate together all the information that students and faculty have been piecing together,” Zinn said. “We will use all this input from alumni and stakeholders at WVU and community members.”
Zinn said the goal for these discussions is to showcase what WVU alumni think about the academic recommendations and how they hope to see the school look in the future.
“There’s a change coming and we all know that,” Zinn said. “But, a lot of the minds that we talk to say we (WVU) could go about this transition differently.”
The board of governors will hear public comments on Sept. 14 before a planned vote on the final recommendations during its regular meeting on Sept. 15. WVU will announce final recommendations through Tuesday as additional appeals are heard.
“We’re gonna present the report to the WVU board in hopes that they can use it to advise them in their vote on Sept. 15,” Zinn said.
More information about the visioning sessions can be found at CreateWV.org.