BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — West Virginia Wesleyan College is letting go nearly 30 employees, an email sent to WVWC students and alumni said Monday.

“All of the personnel who were part of the reduction in force were liked and respected members of the institution,” President Joel Thierstein said in the email.

Thierstein spoke to WAJR Tuesday afternoon, calling Monday a difficult day for the Buckhannon-based institution.

“It’s an unhappy part of an institution,” he said. “It was not a happy day [Monday] on our campus.”

Thierstein said that there will not be cuts to academic programs, athletic programs or student development programs, and no classes or scholarships will be cancelled. Wesleyan will remain Division II.

“The reason for this is to make the institution as viable as possible going forward into this new environment economically,” he said. “Because if we don’t have the economic viability to go forward, we have struggle.”

Thierstein blamed a much more competitive higher education market saturated by online for-profit and non-profit institutions.

“I’m speaking of the online institutions, the digital institutions both for profit and non-profit,” he said. “There are some significant non-profit institutions that are making some significant in roads. Those are causing a much more competitive environment in terms of recruitment of students.”

Thierstein said structural issues like this were affecting a number of institutions throughout the United States.

“That combination of forces changes the way that we need to do business,” he said. “We are much more of a family here than a business here at Wesleyan, but we are mindful of our economic structure.”

27 employees in total will be cut from the staff.

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