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Furloughs: WVU’s action painful, but the right decision

We know of no employer who does not agonize about laying off workers. Yet throughout West Virginia, thousands of companies small and large have had to do that during recent weeks, because of the COVID-19 epidemic. In fact, the Mountain State’s unemployment rate was near 22% for April — the second-highest in the nation.

Last week, West Virginia University officials took the painful step, too.

WVU has furloughed 875 employees to reduce costs during the epidemic. The move is expected to save the state’s flagship university about $4 million.

Clearly, furloughs were a necessary move. WVU is expected to lose as much as $40 million by the end of the fiscal year because of the epidemic.

Sources of revenue for the university are limited. Many have been restricted even more by the epidemic. At some point, something had to give.

One thing that will not give is tuition and fees for WVU students. They will not be going up in the fall.

No doubt the furloughs — which we hope can end soon — helped make that possible.

But good for the administration and Board of Governors for making the decision. It ups the ante for those still serving King Bureaucracy in Charleston. If academia can tighten its belt, so can they.

Painful as it was, WVU’s action was the right thing to do.

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