Western Oregon to make cuts as university faces crunch

MONMOUTH, Ore. (AP) — Several positions and programs at Western Oregon University will be reduced and eliminated next year in an attempt to curb a growing concern for the institution’s financial stability.

The Statesman Journal reports the university’s board of trustees on Nov. 18 approved an adjusted 2021 budget, which required an update on fall 2020 enrollment numbers.

The previous budget, initially adopted at the board’s June meeting, was based on a projected enrollment decrease of 2.5%, officials said.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and “many other factors,” officials reported enrollment was actually down about 7.9%.


Officials said the new budget reflects the resulting decrease in revenue, as well as financial shortfalls caused by a shift to mostly remote instruction. Cuts in spending, salaries and other expenses will be used to cover the deficit.

This includes the university reducing or eliminating nearly three dozen full-time equivalent positions and programs, including the elimination of a major or minor in anthropology, a major in philosophy and the entire master’s in music and master’s in information technology programs.

“These are extremely challenging times in higher education, and Western is not alone in having to make difficult decisions for the current and future success of the university,” said outgoing President Rex Fuller, who announced in October his plans for retirement next September.

Many university employees are not sympathetic to the cuts.

On Oct. 28, Western faculty and staff unions initiated a vote of “no confidence” in Fuller in response to concerns raised by employees across the campus.

The unions cited failures of leadership, persistent management problems and damage to the campus climate as primary reasons for conducting the no-confidence vote. More than 85% of the 240 respondents stated they had no confidence in Fuller’s leadership.

Western, located in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university and serves nearly 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university announced program expansion into a Salem location last year.

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Case Western Reserve University selects Eric W. Kaler as new president

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Former University of Minnesota President Eric W. Kaler has been named the new Case Western Reserve University.

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“Our university’s growing momentum attracted an exceptional pool of candidates,” Board Chair Fred DiSanto said in a news release. “But Eric’s unique combination of intellect, accomplishments, and authenticity ultimately made him our unanimous choice to become Case Western Reserve’s next president.”

Kaler will replace Barbara Snyder, CWRU’s first woman president, who in her 12-year tenure eliminated a $19-million deficit, added campus buildings and helped raise $1.82 billion in donations to its “Thinking Forward” capital plan. Snyder will lead the American Association of Universities.

An accomplished chemical engineer, Kaler led the the University of Minnesota with unprecedented growth in research, fundraising and graduation rates. He was also part of the research progress that led to a state partnership known as MnDRIVE (Minnesota Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy). Kaler holds 10 patents and has been published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers. He is also a member and fellow of several academies including the National Academy of Engineering.

The $18 million program helped to fund research areas that aligned with industry needs and statewide challenges. Topics included robotics and advanced manufacturing, the environment, treatments for brain conditions, and, later, a statewide clinical trials network for cancer (which added $4 million per year to the allocation).

Initially, Kaler didn’t want to leave the area after stepping down as president in 2019. But after learning more about CWU, he became intrigued.

“There is a tremendous fit,” Kaler said. “Once I looked, I got more excited… [and thought] I’m really made for this job.”

David McMillan, a current regent and former chair of its board, attributes Kaler’s success in launching MnDRIVE and other initiatives were two primary factors.

“He had that kind of big-picture vision,” McMillan said in a news release.

Kaler is married to his wife, Karen, and has two adult sons —Charlie and Sam— and a nearly 4-year-old granddaughter, Ophelia.

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Former U president Kaler to lead Case Western Reserve U. in Ohio

Former University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has been selected as the next president of Case Western Reserve University, a private research institution in Cleveland.

Kaler, who led the U for eight years until he stepped down in summer 2019, will take the helm of the 12,000-student university on July 1, the school announced Thursday. An accomplished chemical engineer, Kaler said his “strong belief in the power of research” drew him to the job.

“It is a comprehensive university. They have strong undergraduate, graduate and professional programs,” Kaler said in an interview. “I draw a lot of energy from interacting with students and enabling them to improve.”

Case Western’s board of trustees sought a leader with strong academic and research credentials and prolific fundraising ability.

In Kaler, they get a leader who broke records for graduation rates, research grants and fundraising hauls while at the U. But Kaler’s U legacy was much debated, with critics feeling he should have done more to flatten tuition, cut costs and address a culture within the athletics department that led to back-to-back scandals.

After finishing at the U, Kaler said he never ruled out leading another institution “if the right fit came along.” He will start his new role two years after stepping down as U president and amid a pandemic that has upended campus life and squeezed college budgets.

“I guess I like a challenge,” Kaler said. “It’s a really great opportunity. It plays to my strengths, I think.”

Twitter: @ryanfaircloth

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Student-led coalition offers peer-to-peer coronavirus education at Western Michigan University

KALAMAZOO, MI — A group of students are working to make sure bracing for an on-campus shutdown is not a challenge Western Michigan University and its students will need to face.

Around 30 students now make up what is known as the COVID-19 Student Coalition, a student-led group that serves as a coronavirus education resource and aims to reduce the spread of the virus on WMU’s campus, leaders of the group said an interview with MLive Wednesday.

Keeping a safe and healthy student population has never been more important for institutions across the state, Western being no exception. The coalition is working to inform their fellow students about practicing mitigation strategies in student oriented, peer-to-peer style.

In September, members of the coalition visited a socially-distanced open mic event on-campus, passing out face masks donated by a local business. The group has been creating student-centered infographics and posting information to its social channels.

Chemistry graduate student Melanie Mitchell, who spearheaded the COVID-19 Student Coalition back in August, now serves as the group’s coordinator.

Mitchell said her idea to organize the student-led safety effort came from a shared desire to finish the semester. without the hiccups that University of Michigan, Grand Valley State University and other institutions that have faced, like stay-at-home orders and partial shutdowns resulting from rising coronavirus cases.

“When (the laboratory) finally opened again, I wanted it to stay open,” Mitchell said. “I wanted the college experience to stay intact and I’m also for a teaching assistant, so I wanted students to stay safe and not get me sick, and I didn’t want to get them sick.”

As Western’s campus was closed to students throughout the summer, graduate students who would traditionally stay in Kalamazoo to complete research inside the school’s laboratories were shut out, causing some students to fall behind on research that requires the institution’s labs to complete.

The university has reiterated it will make targeted closures as needed and has no plans of a complete shutdown should coronavirus cases surge, but members of the coalition say they are hoping to minimize the spread of the virus so that closures aren’t being considered.

Alison Yelsma, a public health student and chair of the coalition, said she made her way to the coalition through mutual friends and classmates who shared her desire to return to in-person classes in a safe and low-risk way. President of Eta Sigma Gamma, a health education organization on WMU’s campus, Yelsma volunteered to help Mitchell with her efforts back in August.

“The biggest part was just getting students to really grasp the messaging coming from our higher ups — I was getting a lot of questions from peers just being in public health, where I was using more student friendly language, and I saw I could really help Melanie and it just made sense for other health students to be involved,” Yelsma said.

Yelsma plans to become an epidemiologist after she finishes school. Studying public health during a worldwide pandemic creates unmatched experiential

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Western Michigan University reports 48 new coronavirus cases

KALAMAZOO, MI — Sindecuse Health Center at Western Michigan University reported 48 new coronavirus cases to its COVID-19 Dashboard Friday, Oct. 16, pushing the total number infections to 677 since students returned in August.

The reported cases came from the 22 positive tests on Monday, Oct. 12, 8 positive cases on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and 18 positive individuals on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

Since August, the school has been updating its COVID-19 dashboard with data each Tuesday and Friday evening. Sindecuse reports results from Thursday and Friday of the week prior on Tuesday, and reports results from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the following Friday. The health center is closed on Saturday and Sunday.

The number of students living on-campus who have been infected since the beginning of the semester remains unclear. The university has only released information on infected students living in student residence halls once in September, and again on Oct. 9, when the school confirmed that 23 students across four residence halls were currently positive.

Last week, Vice President of Student Affairs Diane Anderson sent an email to students and WMU community members reminding them to keep following the university enforced COVID-19 safety policies that still remain in effect despite the governor’s emergency powers being struck down by the Michigan Supreme Court.

“Our COVID-19 measures have been established to foster a healthy campus environment so that we can continue to deliver a safe and high-quality on-campus experience,” Anderson said. “But each of us must behave responsibly to ensure this occurs. Don’t let your guard down.”

The university notified students living in affected residence halls last week, with information germane to their buildings. WMU announced in the email that it would be removing furniture in common spaces or locking lounges in residence halls where increases in coronavirus cases occur.

Testing is not a requirement for students or staff, but the university has recommended students living on-campus use the two free tests they are able to receive at Sindecuse.

The number of new cases daily in a 7-day period has fallen dramatically since the figure rose steadily throughout September. As of Oct. 14, the university is averaging almost 13 cases daily in its most recent 7-day period. The number of new cases daily reached its highest 7-day average on Sept. 23, when the school recorded an average of 30.2 new positive cases per day.

While cases jumped at WMU throughout September, the pace of testing in recent weeks never reached to the number of tests performed during the school’s testing event at the Student Recreation Center, which ran from Aug. 27 through Aug. 31. At that event, a total of 1,128 people were tested.

Out of the 2,965 people tested in the month of September, 298 were administered the day after the testing event on Sept. 1 and 1,326 were given from Sept. 21-30.

Though the pace of testing is yet to return to what the university experienced at the testing event, the amount of testing slowly increased at the beginning

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(WATCH) Western Kentucky vs UAB Live:Stream college football Week 7

No. 13 Miami has emerged as one of the most high-profile success stories early in the college football season, kicking off the 2020 ACC campaign by lighting up the scoreboard in prime-time wins against Louisville and Florida State. The excitement around D’Eriq King and Year 2 of the Manny Diaz era reached a fever pitch heading into last week’s top-10 showdown with No. 1 Clemson, alas, Miami fell 42-17 to the Tigers and proved to still be in the second tier of the sport.

Not all is lost for a program that wants to refocus its efforts on finishing in the top two spots of the ACC standings and getting another shot at Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, but the margin for error has lessened with one conference loss just three games into a 10-game conference schedule. Pitt is also dealing with some shifting expectations after a second-straight one-point loss in ACC play.

One week after giving up a last-minute touchdown to NC State in a 30-29 home loss, the Panthers lost on a missed extra point in overtime at Boston College. Suddenly, the buzz from a 3-0 start with wins against Syracuse and Louisville has leveled off a little bit, but there are a pair of chances to change that with two ranked opponents coming up next on the schedule: at Miami this week and at home against Notre Dame on Oct. 24.

Storylines

Miami: Clemson was able to hold Miami’s offense in check in a way that no other opponent has been able to in 2020 as the Hurricanes totaled just 210 yards of offense, with 56 of those yards came on one D’Eriq King run. Take that one explosive play out of the mix, and Miami averaged less than 3 yards per play on the rest of the game’s snaps. Was it that Miami’s offense had inflated numbers from its first three games or did Clemson’s defense turn in a championship-level performance. The only true test of that will be how Miami responds offensively, and while Pitt’s defense does not carry the talent or reputation of the Tigers, there are future pros (safety Paris Ford, for one) and a profile that ranks in the top five nationally (with Clemson) in yards per play allowed. One issue in particular that stood out was Miami’s wide receivers struggling to get separation against Clemson defensive backs, so keep an eye on that battle as a spot where the matchup hinges.

Pitt: When two points are the only thing separating you from a 5-0 start, there’s two ways to cut it: either the team is better than its record or there are issues preventing it from fulfilling its potential. Right now for Pitt, the answer is almost certainly the latter, and the frustrating part is the situational nature of those issues. The Panthers have one of the best down-tofgfd-down defenses in the country, ranking No. 1 in the ACC and No. 4 in the country in yards per play allowed.

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(Live) Western Kentucky vs UAB Live:Stream college football Week 7

The To Western Kentucky vs UAB Live The Tennessee Volunteers are 4-1 against the Kentucky Wildcats since October of 2015, and they’ll have a chance to extend that success Saturday.xzsad

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The Volunteers and UK will face off in an SEC battle at noon ET at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee has the odds in their favor, so they’ll need to guard against complacency.

Tennessee was expected to have a tough go of it last week, and that’s exactly how things played out. Their painful 44-21 defeat to the Georgia Bulldogs might stick with them for a while. WR Josh Palmer put forth a good effort for the losing side as he snatched two receiving TDs.wewer

Meanwhile, UK made easy work of the Mississippi State Bulldogs last week and carried off a 24-2 victory. No one had a standout game offensively for UK, but they got scores from RB Christopher Rodriguez Jr. and TE Keaton Upshaw. Terry Wilson’s longest run was for 51 yards in the second quarter.eewr

The Wildcats’ defense was a force to be reckoned with, as it collected six interceptions. Those interceptions were spread across their defensive unit.

The Volunteers are now 2-1 while UK sits at a mirror-image 1-2. A couple stats to keep an eye on: Tennessee has yet to throw a single interception. UK is not quite as good, but they are no chumps, either: they come into the contest boasting the ninth fewest thrown interceptions in the nation at one. So expect both teams to feel comfortable airing the ball out.sd

How To Watch Watch Tennessee vs Kentucky Live:

When: Saturday at 12 p.m. ET

Where: Neyland Stadium — Knoxville,, Tennessee

TV: SEC Network

CBS All Access is another ideal option for watching games online. In addition to a back catalog of CBS shows, plus some shows like Star Trek: Picard, this service also lets you watch your local CBS station and that channel’s games in your market as they air live.

FOX typically broadcasts two NFC games on Sunday afternoons since they hold the rights to the NFC matchups. The network will also air “Thursday Night Football” games beginning with Week 4.fsd

ESPN will televise all NCAA Football games, while Amazon Prime will broadcast 11 Game beginning with Week 4.

The NCAA Network and NCAAF Redzone announced that the channels will be available to watch on YouTube TV. The two channels are a part of YouTube TV’s new add-on package, Sports Plus and would give subscribers access to live exclusive games live studio shows.ewe

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Western Kentucky vs. UAB odds, line: 2020 college football picks, Week 7 predictions from proven model

A Conference USA battle is on tap Saturday between the UAB Blazers and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at 1:30 p.m. ET at Legion Field. UAB is 3-1 overall and 2-0 at home, while WKU is 1-3 overall and 1-1 on the road. The Hilltoppers are 5-1-1 against the spread in their last seven games following a straight-up win. The Blazers, meanwhile, are 10-2 against the spread when facing a team with a losing record.

The Blazers are favored by 13.5-points in the latest UAB vs. Western Kentucky odds from William Hill, and the over-under is set at 44.5. Before you make any Western Kentucky vs. UAB picks, check out the college football predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of over $4,200 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It is a sizzling 23-6 on top-rated picks through six weeks of the 2020 college football season, returning almost $1,300 in profit already. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Western Kentucky vs. UAB. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the college football odds from William Hill and trends for Western Kentucky vs. UAB:

  • Western Kentucky vs. UAB spread: UAB -13.5
  • Western Kentucky vs. UAB over-under: 44.5 points
  • Western Kentucky vs. UAB money line: UAB -550, WKY +425

What you need to know about Western Kentucky

The Hilltoppers are coming off a 38-14 loss against Marshall last week. Western Kentucky gave up 38 straight points to open the game, even though the Hilltoppers only trailed Marshall 343-294 in yards gained. Western Kentucky coughed up three turnovers in the loss.

Quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome has passed for 559 yards and six touchdowns in the Hilltoppers’ 1-3 start. Pigrome also leads Western Kentucky in rushing, carrying the ball 54 times for 225 yards. 

What you need to know about UAB

Only a road loss at Miami stands in the way of the Blazers holding an unbeaten record in 2020. UAB edged UTSA 21-13 two weeks ago, and had last week off after its game with Rice was postponed. 

Running back Spencer Brown has rushed for 450 yards and five touchdowns in 2020. Quarterback Bryson Lucero has thrown for 652 yards and six touchdowns this season. The Blazers are also stout against the pass, allowing just 152.3 air yards per game this season.

How to make Western Kentucky vs. UAB picks

SportsLine’s model is leaning under on the total, predicting that Pigrome is held to less than 210 yards of total offense. It has also generated an against-the-spread pick that hits in over 70 percent of simulations. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.

So who wins Western Kentucky vs. UAB? And which side of the spread hits over 70 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see

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