CWU News

Letter from the President

Dear CWU Community,

The past eight months have been difficult, and I am very proud of you and appreciate your considerable efforts to provide a high-quality educational experience for our students.

Even while continuing to outperform national norms for enrollment, Central experienced a 5 percent decline in overall student head-count. In response to the need for physical distancing, we also limited the number of students living in campus housing to 1,600, less than half the typical number.

Fewer students mean less revenue. Adding to the problem, I remain convinced the state will be forced to reduce spending for higher education in the current and subsequent biennia.

Earlier this year, I placed restrictions on travel and purchases. I also eliminated 140 vacant positions via a freeze on all but essential hiring. Most of us experienced reductions in FTE or layoffs during the summer months. While those actions helped us reach our budget mandates, additional steps are needed to ensure the financial health of the institution.

I have therefore approved the elimination of 56 Ellensburg positions. The positions are in Housing, Dining Services, Facilities, Computing, and supervision – all of which have lowered workloads resulting from fewer residential students, fewer in-person classes, and fewer employees working on-site.

The decision to implement the layoffs was very difficult, and I understand the impact it has on members of our Wildcat family. Our Human Resources Department will work with each affected employee to help during this difficult time.

While there will be no additional layoffs or FTE reductions in December 2020, I cannot promise the current round of layoffs will be the last. Much depends on our willingness to continue to fight the spread of infections of COVID-19. Until an effective vaccine is available, our tools remain distancing, masking, and washing. We must all participate in curbing this virus.


James L. Gaudino