Save WVU (w/ Leslie Wilber, Morgan King, & Jessie Wilkerson)

0:00 / 1:01:00
August 20, 2023

The world of higher education has been in shock this past week after West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee announced plans to dramatically cut academic programs and jobs in the coming year. "West Virginia University, a crucial institution in one of the nation’s most impoverished states, is poised to jettison all of its faculty dedicated to teaching Spanish, French, Chinese and other foreign languages," Nick Anderson reports at The Washington Post. "The state’s largest public university also is moving toward elimination of a master’s degree program in creative writing and a doctoral program in mathematics, among other proposed cuts, in response to declining enrollment and what university officials call a 'structural' budget deficit of $45 million. In all, 32 of the university’s 338 majors on its Morgantown campus would be discontinued and 7 percent of its faculty eliminated under a plan made public last week." If WVU proceeds with the proposed cuts, the impact on campus workers—student employees, grad workers, faculty, staff, facilities workers—and the local economy will be massive. What brought WVU to this crisis point? And what can be done to fight back? In this urgent episode, we talk with: Leslie Wilber, an organizer with West Virginia Campus Workers who graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree from WVU earlier this year; Morgan King, a recent graduate of WVU, a Fulbright Scholar, and a Marshall Scholar; Dr. Jessie Wilkerson, associate professor and Joyce and Stuart Robbins Chair of History at WVU, a member of the West Virginia Campus Workers union, and the author of To Live Here, You Have to Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice.

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Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive:

  • Jules Taylor, "Working People" Theme Song