CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Mountain State University announced Monday that it will lay off half its employees by September, in the most recent blow after the school lost its accreditation.
"This is a difficult decision," Jerry Ice, chairman of the MSU Board of Trustees, said in a news release. "The reductions are not about performance issues. MSU employees are hardworking and dedicated. Their contributions to the university, its students, and their communities are greatly appreciated."
The 146 employees affected by the cuts were notified Monday that their employment with the university will end Sept. 21. The layoffs included 132 from MSU's Beckley campus, two in North Carolina, nine in Martinsburg, one in Pennsylvania, and two in Florida. Cuts were made at all administrative, faculty and staff levels, school officials said.
The layoffs come just weeks after the Higher Learning Commission, the regional monitoring agency that accredits MSU, withdrew MSU's general accreditation for systemic breakdowns in leadership, program oversight and student relations.
MSU has said it plans to appeal the HLC's decision on the grounds that the ruling was "arbitrary, capricious and not based on substantial evidence."
"This is painful for everyone," said Andrew Wheeler, chairman of MSU's Faculty Senate. "And if we don't win the appeal, it will still continue."
MSU employs 335 full-time employees, said school spokesman Andy Wessels.
In addition to its main campus in Beckley, MSU has branch campuses in Martinsburg; Center Township, Pa.; Mooresville, N.C.; and Orlando, Fla.
Mountain State University was the 99th-largest private employer in West Virginia last year, according to Workforce West Virginia.