April 10, 2019 - The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus regretfully announces that the reorganization underway at Wheeling Jesuit University will not allow the Jesuit affiliation with the University to continue beyond the current academic year.
Continued financial challenges at the University recently led the Board of Trustees to declare financial exigency. In response to that declaration, University leadership developed a reorganization plan that includes eliminating numerous academic programs, as well as faculty and staff positions. With nearly all Jesuit positions eliminated, and without sufficient lay Ignatian leadership and programming to support the Jesuit identity of the University, the Jesuit affiliation of the University will not be able to continue.
In 2016, the Board of Trustees of Wheeling Jesuit University, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, and the Jesuit Community at Wheeling Jesuit University entered into an Agreement of Shared Purpose establishing their shared commitment to promoting the Catholic Jesuit mission and identity of the University. Now, in approving the reorganization plan for the University, the university leadership has recognized that a result will be ending the Jesuit affiliation of the University. The Jesuits will continue a limited presence at the university through the Appalachian Institute and campus ministry.
To facilitate this change in affiliation, Jesuit members of the Board of Trustees will step down so that the Board is free to pursue its reorganization plans for the University. The Agreement of Shared Purpose stipulates that maintaining the Jesuit name of the University is dependent upon retaining the Jesuit mission and identity of the University.
We recognize that the reorganization of the University creates painful realities for many in the University community. The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities will seek to lend its support to those impacted by these decisions. The Society of Jesus shares in the regret that goes with this difficult transition and wishes the University much success in developing a restructuring plan that will allow it to continue to serve the people of West Virginia and beyond.