If you needed more evidence that our Chancellor may not be on our side…

…beyond the nearly empty letter sent from his office last week in response to the Governor’s budget proposal, read this article to see what it looks like when a Board of Regents mobilizes against even less substantive a threat then we faced last year and face again this year.

In short, the article explains a situation brewing in Florida, in which the Republican chair of the Senate Budget Committee is threatening to cut the budget for the University of South Florida by 58% if USF won’t hand off one of its branch campuses to him (essentially) to become a part of Florida’s state-owned system (which, by the way, is where our esteemed Chancellor came from, if you remember). Anyway, Senator Alexander is a well-known thug, and everybody knows it, and everybody knows he can’t possibly do what he’s threatening.

At the same time, within a couple of days after his announcement, upper administration/management across the entire USF system had mobilized, sent out angry alerts to faculty, students, alums, staff members, and so on, and begun organizing a response.

In Pennsylvania, the Governor makes an entire predictable speech promising to assault our system for the second year in a row, and our upper leadership response is to agree that the Governor’s position is generally right, but that he’s being a little mean to us.

For those of you who haven’t figured it out yet, you’d better start getting this now. We can count on the Office of the Chancellor for nothing helpful to the majority of the system. He simply refuses to fight for us. His record is one of throwing us under any bus that passes by. And all while maintaining his position as the highest paid public employee in PA.

We can’t fire him, and I can’t imagine anything he could do that would make the Governor happier (so he ain’t getting fired). But the implications for students, faculty and staff, residents of PASSHE campus locations, and community members, are clear. If we’re going to keep our system from getting butchered by a bunch of thugs who couldn’t care less about it, we have to do it ourselves.

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6 Comments

Filed under Access, Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Communities, Office of the Chancellor, PASSHE, Public education, Student activism, Tom Corbett

6 responses to “If you needed more evidence that our Chancellor may not be on our side…

  1. Jana

    It seems pretty clear that the goal is to do away with PASSHE, and have all of the system schools go private. Aren’t we nearly there already? If we’re funded by the state at only 14%, can we really say that we’re a public university? While I believe and support public higher education, I think it has already effectively been defeated in Pa.

    Maybe, just maybe, it would be a benefit to our students to get out from under all of the state bureaucracy, reduce the number of administrators we’ve had to hire to deal with that state bureaucracy, and devote our energies to serving them. We could still be a unionized faculty at WCU, but we’d be dealing with our own management, and not one so removed from us, from our students, and from educational priorities.

    • sethkahn

      Yes, I think the agenda is to kill public higher ed altogether. By the time it happens, the Chancellor will be a hero to other states that want to do the same, so he’ll never be short of job opportunities… OK, that’s snarky, but you get the idea.

      As for privatizing, no, we could NOT remain a union faculty if we privatized. Courtesy of the Yeshiva decision from the Sup Ct (1980, I think, or 81), faculty at private universities are defined as managers and therefore not able to unionize. Frankly, I’d rather fight Governor Frackface and the Chancellor than wait for a NLRB ruling that gets to a court case that overturns the precedent.

      Plus, public universities do work that private universities don’t. That’s one reason I came to one.

      • Jana

        Darn … forgot about Yeshiva. Doesn’t seem right to me … private faculty are managers but public faculty are not? WHAT?????

  2. sethkahn

    You know OH SB5 that got repealed earlier this year was based on the same argument you’re making, right? The OH GOP (courtesy of the American Legislative Exchange Council) argued that Yeshiva should apply to public university faculty in their state, and the law stripped faculty of the right to organize. The repeal gave it back, but that’s not the first–or the last–time legislation has hinged on this. A case will get to the Supreme Court before too long on this, I fear. I only hope it doesn’t happen until Thomas, Alito, Roberts, and Scalia have retired. Or been abducted by aliens. I don’t really care which.

  3. Jana

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear. I believe Yeshiva was wrongly decided. Neither private nor public faculty are “managers” no matter what they say. I would argue that unionization is a fundamental right in both the public and private sectors.

    • sethkahn

      I gotcha. And I agree. That decision is the second most incoherent Supreme Court document I’ve ever read (trailing only the Buckley opinion). I don’t like to use “tortured” as a metaphor, but it’s about the only description of the “logic” that even comes close.

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