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Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities Express Concern About Wheeling Jesuit Cuts

Jesuit Association gives list of transfer coordinators to help current students

WHEELING — The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities has expressed concern for the impact of Wheeling Jesuit University’s program cuts on students, faculty and staff.

Last week, WJU President Michael Mihalyo Jr. announced that the university will remain open for the 2019-20 academic year and will offer eight programs in the fall. All other programs of study will be suspended.

As part of the cutbacks, many WJU faculty members have been notified that their employment will be terminated.

The association — which represents the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States — has issued a statement regarding WJU’s actions.

Officials of the group stated, “The presidents, faculty and staff of the nation’s Jesuit colleges and universities share relief that Wheeling Jesuit will stay open next year, as well as the concern of the Wheeling leadership for the impact of program cuts on hundreds of students, faculty and staff. The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities … has been in communication with Wheeling Jesuit to offer assistance and support, and will continue to do so in the weeks to come.”

The AJCU representatives also said, “For more than 60 years, Wheeling Jesuit University has served thousands of students who seek a Jesuit education in a part of the country that has often been neglected. These students have majored in fields ranging from philosophy, theology and English to nursing, business and the sciences.

“In the process, they have learned how to become well-rounded individuals committed to serving others, and finding God in all things. They have made a difference in their local community through dedicated service, and continue to model their Jesuit education after graduation across the country and the world.”

Earlier this week, Mihalyo and a spokesman for the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus declined requests for interviews concerning the situation at Wheeling Jesuit.

Meanwhile, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities has posted information online for Wheeling Jesuit students with discontinued majors.

The association has compiled a list of transfer coordinators at Jesuit colleges and universities who can help answer inquiries from WJU students about continuing a “degree program and/or major at a different Jesuit college or university next year.” The coordinators can assist WJU students with obtaining admission and housing, transferring credits and receiving financial aid.

Questions about the list can be directed to Shelby Lauter by email at slauter@ajcunet.edu or by calling the AJCU office at 202-862-9893. Association officials said they are continuing to update the list with more contacts.

To date, the transfer coordinators include Jeannette Delaney and Julie Gibert at Canisius College, Buffalo, New York; Jennie Velez-Harris at John Carroll University, Cleveland; Deb Cady-Melzer at Le Moyne College, Syracuse, New York; Mike Usher at Loyola University, Chicago; Gloria Cosenza at Loyola University, New Orleans; Daniel Wood at Saint Louis University; Charlie Stone at Seattle University and Jen Droege at Xavier University, Cincinnati.

When contacted for comment on the WJU situation, Mike Gabriele, director of communications for the Jesuits’ Maryland Province and USA Northeast Province, said Monday, “The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus is collaborating with the university and with the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, and we hope to have an official statement later this week on our progress.”

Julia Cook, WJU’s director of communications, said Tuesday that Mihalyo “is not accepting any interviews” at this time.

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