Monthly Archives: April 2011

Er, just in case you missed it…

Folks, this email from Cliff, originally a memo from State APSCUF President Hicks, was in your email Monday.  Given the lack of buzz it generated, I figure some of you just missed it, so I’m reposting it here. I frankly can’t understand why there’s not more vocal anger at this announcement.  If you don’t believe the Chancellor really means the threat on our campus, then you should be furious at him for lobbing this kind of grenade into contract negotiations while we’re supposed to be fighting side-by-side for our budgetary lives in the Legislature.  If you do believe he really means it, you should be fighting like all bloody hell to save the jobs of your sisters and brothers, if not your own.  –Seth
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Please forward this email to all members.  Steve

Colleagues,

We knew it was coming, but that still did not soften the blow last Friday when, at the negotiations table, the Chancellor’s Office confirmed the rumor that all fourteen of our universities would be sending out retrenchment notices for the 2012-13 academic year.

One might have reasonably expected that, given the context of Governor Corbett’s budget cuts and the need for all in our system to work together, that the Chancellor might, at least, delay this divisive and dispiriting initiative until the fog of the budget battle had cleared.   This would have been the rational path, the politically astute path, and the empathetic path for our students and the faculty.   They have, instead, moved precipitously.

Fortunately, our Association negotiated a CBA that protects us from impetuous administrative action.  The retrenchment notices do not mean that there will, necessarily, be retrenchment.  Under both Article 29 of our collective bargaining agreement and PASSHE’s internal guidelines, campus administrations (and the Office of the Chancellor [OOC]) are to begin the process by notifying the union of “any changes, including those involving curriculum and programs, which will lead to retrenchment.”  These notices fulfill these requirements.  We have been notified as to the possibility of retrenchment.


Thus, colleagues, we must fight on another front.  Amid the budget battle and negotiations, both on your campus and in Harrisburg, we will fight on another front.  There is no time to be panicked or discouraged.  Our state meet and discuss teams and your local meet and discuss teams are ready for these battles.  Our staff is ready.


With record enrollments for thirteen years, and years of budget surpluses, the universities are in a poor position to argue very vehemently that they need fewer faculty.  It belies logic and calculation.  The faculty is at the core of any serious academic mission, and we will never let them forget it.


We must remain diligent, steadfast, and united.  We will fight any attempt to retrench faculty with all the tools at our disposal, but our most effective resource continues to be our ability to stand together with our students in support of quality public higher education.  And, that we will do.


In Solidarity,


Steve

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Collective Bargaining, Contract Negotiations, Office of the Chancellor, PASSHE, Retrenchment, West Chester University

Change of Date for Chester County Rally for Public Education

As soon as I can make the technology work, I’ll post the flyer for Sen. Dinniman’s rally at the Chester County Courthouse, the date of which has MOVED–

New Date: Wed, April 27

So you can have Wed, April 20 back for yourselves, but the 27th?  We need you there.

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Communities, K-12 Education, PASSHE, Penn State University, Public education, Rally, Student activism, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, University of Pittsburgh, West Chester University

Common ground is fine, but it doesn’t guarantee fairness

By now you’ve probably seen the news out of State APSCUF of management’s announcement that they plan to issue retrenchment letters on all fourteen PASSHE campuses for the 2012-13 school year.

We’ll have plenty more to say about the specifics of that announcement and how we respond to it in the near future; it wasn’t entirely unexpected, but neither do we take it as anything other than hostile.

In the meantime, this morning’s Inside Higher Education features an article on a labor conference last week at which faculty union leaders and university managers got together to talk about how to find common ground from which to advance the mutual interests of universities and systems.

Ironically, the article mentions Pennsylvania specifically as an example of a place where faculty and management ought to fighting together against outrageous budget proposals–and it published one day after management announced that they may retrench faculty all across the system.

Knowing that managers in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and other places actually respect the faculty in their states made this announcement out of PASSHE even that much more toxic.  At a time when we should all be fighting desperately to win over legislators who can protect our budget, and we’re seeing examples of state system managers doing just that, instead the Office of the Chancellor (OOC) is firing shots across the bow.

So what does this mean for you as WCU faculty?  A few things:

1. If you haven’t already written letters and made phone calls to your legislators about the budget, do it NOW.  Our campus management has been with us on these efforts, but the OOC just isn’t.  Don’t wait around for PASSHE to do its thing–do it for them.

2.  Go to rallies and show your face: April 26 in Harrisburg; April 27 at the Courthouse in downtown West Chester; May 3 in Harrisburg.

3.  Continue to get ready for what now appears to be an even nastier negotiations season than we already expected.  Make sure your APSCUF reps know you to find you off-campus.  Try to put a little money aside in case of a job action.  Read the emails that come from State and Local APSCUF because they have information in them you need to know.

One last thing–it’s tempting to be (some combination of) scared, frustrated, and angry at the current state of affairs in our system.  Obviously I can’t dictate your emotional reactions, but I’ll make this pitch (which some of you have heard me say before).  In difficult times, the urge to panic, the urge to withdraw, and the urge to organize/mobilize are exactly the same.  MOBILIZE!  It’s a much healthier response.

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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Collective Bargaining, Contract Negotiations, Inside Higher Ed, PASSHE, Public education, Rally, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, West Chester University

APSCUF Scholarship information

Students–if you need money to help pay for school, especially if the Governor and Legislature ignore us and raise your tuition, you may be eligible for one of these scholarships!

We WANT to give money away (but only responsibly, of course).  Help us do it!

Faculty: Help spread the word.

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Scholarships, Tuition increase, Uncategorized, West Chester University

The good news is good BECAUSE of what we’re doing. That means we need to keep doing it.

This article from CBS Philly should sound two chords at once:

1. PASSHE’s position in the Legislature is improving; even some very conservative Republicans, who otherwise don’t support much public anything, seem to be on board with protecting at least most of our budget allocation.

2. The reason the Legislature is coming around to this position is that WE ARE MAKING THEM. It’s our efforts on the streets, in the press, in hallways, and everywhere else that are pushing an otherwise not-often-friendly legislature in the right direction.

The upshot is, as our colleague Cherise Pollard (who pointed me to this link) put it, we have to keep working.  We should take this news as ENCOURAGING, but it’s encouraging us to KEEP PUSHING.

Tired of getting yelled at in ALL CAPS?  Show us what you’re doing to protect our schools and we won’t have to :).

 

 

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

Information about another rally

From Kevin Mahoney at the KUXchange, news about a rally April 26 in Harrisburg.  This one merges issues of higher ed, K-12 ed, public and private sector unions.  Details about times/speakers/sponsors forthcoming.

For any student readers or community members–if you’re interested in co-sponsoring this rally, you can use the flyer that’s linked in the post and add your organization’s name and contact info.  Let me (Seth) know if you do this, so I can tell my colleague who designed the flyer to add you to the sponsor list.

Also, Kevin has designed and put up for sale t-shirts in support of the event.  As always, Kevin uses proceeds to support pro-education, pro-student, pro-workers-rights efforts.

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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Collective Bargaining, Communities, free speech, K-12 Education, Kutztown University, PASSHE, Public education, Rally, Student activism, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, University of Pittsburgh, West Chester University

President Hicks’ Comments to the Board of Governors

From the State APSCUF blog.  President Hicks’ comments at their April meeting call on them to remind our state of the work we do and its importance.  I think it’s important for us as faculty to take up his call as well.

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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, PASSHE, Public education, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, West Chester University

Save the date! Wed, April 20. 7 PM.

At today’s event on campus, Sen. Andy Dinniman announced a Chester-County-wide pro-public-education (pre through college) rally and made an awfully convincing case that WE NEED TO TURN OUT IN FORCE.

Details forthcoming, but here are the vitals–

Wed April 20

7 PM

Chester County Courthouse Steps/Lawn/Wherever else we spill over

If you care about anything on this list, you should be there–

*WCU/PASSHE

*K-12 Education in PA

*Pre-K educational opportunities

*Anybody you know who goes to school at any of those levels

*Anybody you know who works at any school at any of those levels

That just about covers it.  Senator Dinniman said two things today that really hit.  First, he said that without pressure from us, we can’t expect the State Legislator to do anything for us.  Second, he said that with enough pressure from us, they can’t say no!

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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Communities, K-12 Education, PASSHE, Public education, Rally, Student activism, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, West Chester University