Monthly Archives: March 2011

A Guide to the Governor’s Proposed Budget Cuts

Reposted from our friends at the KUXchange, APSCUF-KU’s chapter blog:

The library folks at KU’s Rohrback Library have put together this site, the Guide to the Governor’s Proposed Budget Cuts.  I’ve only poked around with it for a couple of minutes, but at a glance it’s both detailed and navigator-friendly!  As the contributor who wrote the KUXchange entry, Christina Steffy, says–

Also remember that, in a time when there is an information overload and everyone wants to “just Google it,” there are information professionals you can turn to who are better than  Google and who know where to find information that Google can’t find (yes, it’s true! Google can’t find everything). The information professionals at KU are proof of this (and let’s give credit to Tim Ballingall, the grad assistant who got this out there), so please don’t forget that as we fight for education we must also fight for libraries. Where else will you get free access to knowledge and people who are more than happy to help you on your quest for knowledge?

And just as importantly:

The Governor may not care about having an educated populace, but the Rohrbach Library does.

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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Kutztown University, PASSHE, Tom Corbett

An Open Letter to PA University Students

[Professor Amy Walters from Slippery Rock U shared this letter with me this morning, with an invitation to distribute it far and wide.  The letter is an Open Letter from the PA chapter of the AAUP (American Association of University Professors).  Feel free to distribute it farther and wider!  –Seth]

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To Pennsylvania Students:

Last week, your Governor, Tom Corbett, proposed his first budget. Despite the fact that Governor Corbett pledged to place a high priority on jobs and the economy, his budget assures that Pennsylvania will be a competitive disadvantage economically.  He warned that his budget would be painful, and it was.  If passed, this budget will likely ensure that yours will be the first generation to have a lower standard of living than that of your parents.  You will confront massive challenges in your lifetime. There will be increased competition from within the US and abroad, where men and women are better educated than ever before. The best educated will develop the most significant advances in technology.  Opportunities will still exist; and education will remain critical to your surviving and thriving.  Unfortunately, you will have less help from the state government than any generation since World War II.

As a society, we face tough choices.  We are facing a deep recession; many people are hurting. Although there is wealth in our society, this budget does not ask the appropriate sacrifice from those who are more fortunate, nor from those in the financial sector who have brought this calamity upon us. Rather, this budget asks you and your families to sacrifice.

As the representatives of tens of thousands of college and university faculty throughout the Commonwealth, we wanted to write our objections to this proposal and to encourage the Governor and legislature to reconsider the drastic and devastating cuts proposed last week.  The proposed budget will result in higher costs and fewer loans for students; it will result in fewer faculty and more crowded classrooms; as a consequence, it will result in a less educated and less competitive Pennsylvania.

Just to summarize, the budget proposed last week cut state funding to the state owned institutions 54%, down to 1983 levels.  It is hard to see how PSSHE (Millersville, Slippery Rock, etc) will cope with those cuts without cutting faculty and staff (secretaries, maintenance workers, etc.), without cancelling classes and important programs.  Instead of your finishing your education in four years, it will likely take you five or six.

The state-related institutions (Pitt, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln) took similar cuts in the proposed budgets.  Penn State’s President, Graham Spanier, is predicting tuition increases of 10-20%, at what is already the most expensive public institution in the country.  In addition to firing faculty, he predicts closing some branch campuses.

PHEAA, which funds loans for both public and private college students, was cut by almost 3% and, for private schools, the cuts may reach 7 %.  Thus student aid will go down as tuition goes up.  Likewise,  community colleges will cut classes and faculty, making it harder for citizens to start or restart their education.

Pennsylvania faces a large budget deficit of approximately $4 billion; there are no easy fixes. However, you all know that no economy thrives for long without a middle class. Cutting higher education means cutting the opportunity for many to move into or remain in the middle class. So, cutting money spent on education is akin to eating your seed corn.

Students did not cause this economic crisis; neither did their parents.  Faculty did not. University staff did not.  The middle class did not; but now we are being asked to pay for it.

As leaders of the Commonwealth, the governor and legislature have an opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of millions of Pennsylvanians.  The budget proposed last week was only a first step, and you should take the opportunity not only to get justification of funding from the universities cut, but to think about your priorities and those of the state.  In the end, we think you will realize the wise thing to do is to restore the funding for higher education. We think that, eventually, they   will recognize the need to plant the seeds of education, so the Commonwealth will reap the benefits.

This is not a time for silence. As educators and as citizens we need to step up and be heard on this matter. Clicking on this http://www.legis.state.pa.us/ will take you to the Pennsylvania legislature’s website, which contains contact information for the state House of Representatives and Senate. We encourage you to use this resource to contact your local representative and or state senator to voice your opinion on this proposal.  Let them know that that the budget proposal is a bad deal for all Pennsylvanians.

 

 

Executive Board of the PA-AAUP.

 

 

 

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Filed under AAUP, Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, PASSHE, Penn State University, Student activism, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, University of Pittsburgh

6ABC: Proposed cuts spark campus protests

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/video?id=8028099&syndicate=syndicate&section=

Thanks to everyone who attended & spoke & helped us get this solid coverage.

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APSCUF rally at WCU: United we stand, underfunded we fail!

Lots to say about today’s rally, too tired to say any of it right now except a very, very serious thanks to everybody who came to the event, spoke, listened, talked, chanted, waved a sign, read a sign, filled out a postcard, or took a factsheet.

I wanted to get this video from the event, produced by Dr. Mike Boyle in Communication Studies, out ASAP.

Excellent work!  More to come as we get links to press coverage.  WCU-TV was also there, as was somebody from the state APSCUF office.

 

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, PASSHE, Rally, Student activism, Tom Corbett, Uncategorized, West Chester University

The kind of Orwellian logic we’re up against

I know not all of you colleagues share my exact political affiliations/inclinations, so I’ll preemptively apologize for what I expect might be a somewhat partisan tone here…

From this morning’s (3/22) Inside Higher Education comes an article describing the Ohio Governor’s new plan to increase state university faculty teaching loads by one course every two years.  The idea, says Governor Kasich’s office, is to save (an unannounced and as of yet seemingly uncalculated amount of) money.

So what’s the problem here?  One course every two years isn’t that big a deal, right?

For someone like me, who was markedly less happy when I had reassign time for administrative work than I am when I teach a full load, the change isn’t a bad idea–IF it comes along with an acknowledgement that there’s a balance to be struck.  That is, you can’t expect faculty to teach more, and to research more, and to do more service, all without any more support or compensation.  Every aspect of the job will suffer if those demands are allowed to increase unchecked.

Further, according to the article, the proposal (as of now, and to be sure it still seems half-baked) will take very little account of faculty input; several Ohio AAUP reps and officers make the point that nobody in the Governor’s office has even begun to talking to faculty about how they might make this work.

And that’s where the Orwell button gets pushed…

Just a few weeks ago, a bill (originally SB5–if you want to read any of this news about it, that’s what I’d search for) passed and became law, that (among many other nasty provisions) redefines public university faculty as managers under the Yeshiva SupCt decision.  Briefly, the SupCt held that because faculty (the decision was limited to private university faculty–many of us have been wondering for years when this leap would happen) are involved in decision-making that effects the governance of their campuses, they’re legally doing management work and are therefore excluded from collective bargaining rights.

So are you starting to see the problem here?  Just a couple of weeks ago, OH public university faculty had so much influence over policy and governance that they’re managers.  Now, when the Governor wants to save a few (more) bucks on the backs of people who actually work for a living, he pushes a policy the direct effects of which squarely fall on the one group he has no intention of involving in the decision.

Huh?  Which one is it, Governor Kasich?  Either your faculty have management authority or they don’t.

The reason I’m talking about this here is that I won’t be the least bit surprised, if that provision of the OH law holds up to what I expect is an inevitable court battle, when a similar proposal comes to PA.  We need to be ready for it.  How will we respond?

 

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Filed under APSCUF, Collective Bargaining, Inside Higher Education, Ohio SB5, PASSHE, Yeshiva decision

REMINDER: Rally tomorrow to fight budget cuts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope you all know about this already, but by way of reminder (!), or in case you missed it–

 Please spread as far and wide as you can!  [Feel free to forward and/or print and post the attached flyer.]

West Chester University APSCUF will be hosting a rally on Tuesday, March 22, to encourage the PA legislature to reject Governor Corbett’s Budget and adequately fund the PA State System of Higher Education next year and in the future.  This is part of a statewide effort to hold rallies at all 14 campuses the day before Senate hearings on the Budget begin.

When: Tues, March 22 from 1:15-2;30.

Where: The lawn by the Ehinger Gym, at the corner of Church St and University Ave, behind the bus stop.

 All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to participate.  [NEW: We’ll be asking people to sign and complete postcards letting the Legislators who represent the WC district know how the cuts would impact us.  Please come by and fill one out!]

We are expecting media to be there, so it’s important that the turnout is strong.  We need to make a showing to the Governor and the whole state that our universities matter!

Because of the media presence, however, and the presence on campus of a team from the organization responsible for WCU’s academic accreditation, we (respectfully but firmly) ask that you PLEASE be judicious and respectful in your tone and style if you make signs or banners.  The Governor and his supporters don’t need any more fodder to convince voters and legislators of the wrong message.

In Solidarity,

Seth

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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Communities, PASSHE, Rally, Student activism, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, West Chester University

PSEA letters to legislators

PSEA has created a site that will generate a letter to your state representative and senator. You can modify the text to make sure it states clearly your views about the cuts’ impact on PASSHE.

http://capwiz.com/psea/issues/alert/?alertid=32359501

(This is my first post to wordpress, so apologies if it’s messy.)

Cheryl Wanko

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Statewide APSCUF Press Release: Read this ASAP

Forwarded from the State APSCUF blog:

http://apscuf.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/apscuf-agrees-to-negotiate-wage-freeze/

My quick summary: state leadership is announcing our intention to agree to a wage freeze for next year, in conjunction with wage freezes for managers/administrators and a restoration of funding for the system.

I, quite frankly, was hoping that we’d announce exactly this.  It’s the right thing to do, and should announce loudly and clearly to legislators (and to students, families, and other taxpayers) that the faculty aren’t putting ourselves and our own economic interests above everyone else’s.

Get it, Governor?  Get it, legislators?  Please show us that you’re listening.  And hearing.  And caring.  Anybody who dismisses this move as some kind of cynical ploy is only demonstrating how little he/she cares about the Commonwealth and democracy.

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Collective Bargaining, PASSHE, Tom Corbett

An excellent op-ed in today’s West Chester Daily Local

I’ll do the usual links page later today, but I wanted to get this column from today’s West Chester Daily Local News out as soon as possible.

It’s an opinion piece contributed by WCU faculty member Dr. Ed Lordan.  Dr. Lordan reminds legislators that cutting the WCU/PASSHE budget as a short-term economic fix has serious and dire long-term consequences, while not proving especially helpful in the short-term either.

Some highlights:

Current and future students of the Pennsylvania state schools like West Chester University — those that are part of the PASSHE system — will be particularly hard hit given the sheer amount of funding being cut. There is a direct connection between the health of the university and the health of the local economy — fewer students means fewer dollars for local businesses…

For instance, WCU has been rated a top 100 best value in American public higher education by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance four years in a row. WCU students contributed a record 233,513 hours of volunteer service in the community for the 2009-2010 school year. Cutting funding for them is a short-sighted decision that will ultimately cost more than it saves and have a direct negative impact of current and future students…

Nice work, Dr. Lordan.  And thanks for taking the time to write it.

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Filed under Advocacy, Budget, Communities, PASSHE, Student activism, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, Uncategorized, West Chester University

WCU President Weisenstein’s Budget Info Page

Folks:

If you haven’t already, you should probably take a look at the Budget Update pages on the WCU website.

If you’re looking for fightin’ words to provoke you into rallying, protesting, letter-writing, and so on, you’ll find them sprinkled throughout these resources; don’t expect the President’s style to have that effect on you.  If you’ve been in a room with him, or even listened to him speak, you’ll understand that’s not the kind of tone he strikes.  But neither do I see anything on these pages telling the rest of us that we shouldn’t fight hard for what we think is right.

Or put a different way: go mine the site for what you can use and don’t get frustrated by the institution-speak of the rest!

As you write letters, make signs for rallies/protests and so on, you’ll find very useful and well-presented data here.

If you’re not sure who you’re PA legislators are, you can go here to find out.

 

 

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Filed under Advocacy, Budget, PASSHE, Student activism, Tuition increase, University Presidents