Category Archives: Kutztown University

Our APSCUF-KU brother Kevin Mahoney on the tentative agreement

If you know Dr. Mahoney and me, you know that we nearly always think pretty much the same things. Kevin has a gift for being a couple of steps ahead of me in his ability to make a clear case for what we both usually think.

His current piece on the Raging Chicken Press site is probably the strongest example of that phenomenon I’ve seen in 11 years of this. If you want to know what I think about the agreement, what it represents in terms of APSCUF’s status as a union and our role in defending public higher education, what it protects in terms of our job descriptions and workloads, how it defends against what was a brutal attack on our contingent faculty, what it costs economically and how those issues sift out, just read it.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.



Filed under APSCUF, Collective Bargaining, Contingent faculty, Contract Negotiations, Kutztown University, PASSHE

A recent post on the APSCUF-KUXchange by friend and colleague Amy Lynch-Biniek. In a nutshell, she describes how the current PASSHE proposals regarding adjunct faculty hurt our adjunct brothers and sisters, our students, our departments, and our system.

APSCUF-KU xchange

To borrow a turn of phrase, you can tell a lot about a college by the way it treats its adjuncts. If you read the PASSHE Negotiation Objectives recently distributed to KU faculty via email (referred to parenthetically in this post as “Letter”), you are likely angered and dismayed by most if not all of their positions. For a moment, I’d like you to consider the repercussions of one element of their attack on quality education, their proposed treatment of contingent faculty. And make no mistake: the use and treatment of these faculty does indeed affect and reflect the education the state makes available to students.

Before I came to Kutztown University, I had been an adjunct at several colleges, though “adjunct” became a ridiculous term when I was running the writing center, directing the theater production and teaching several classes at a single institution on three “part-time” contracts. One…

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Filed under APSCUF, Collective Bargaining, Contingent faculty, Contract Negotiations, Corporate University, Education reform, Kutztown University, Uncategorized

Board of Governors approves 7.5% tuition increase

Another piece of the economic puzzle in place; the PASSHE Board of Governors approved a 7.5% tuition increase for the upcoming school year: to $6,240 per in-state student, up from $5,804.

Read more about it, including reactions from students and managers from KU and WCU, and the Chancellor’s Office.

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Filed under Budget, Budget Cuts, Kutztown University, Office of the Chancellor, PASSHE, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, West Chester University

Two MUST-READ posts from the KUXchange (KU’s local blog)

1. If you’re still not convinced that the threat of retrenchment is real, even at WCU, where President Weisenstein has been telling us for two years now about the sound financial health of the university, you need to read Kevin Mahoney’s post, I Went to Harrisburg, and My Head Exploded.  I’ve known Kevin for a long time now and know that he’s often motivated to fight against this kind of madness but rarely taken by surprise.  Even with all the research KU-APSCUF has done in the last couple of years, it was hard to anticipate what they’ve found.

2.  Contributor mslibrarygoddess says it loud and proud, in Don’t Want to Accept Responsibility? Blame Teachers! A couple of marquis moments.

Responding to the assertion by some politicians that teachers are the greedy ones:

[R]ather than seeing teachers as advocates, the government is making them out to be greedy millionaires who want to line their pockets with your tax dollars.

Hmmmm….if that’s what teachers were doing, wouldn’t they all be politicians? After all, aren’t politicians the people that have taken jobs that were supposed to be civil service positions, things you volunteered for to serve your community and if you were paid it was a modest salary, and made them into career positions that eat up tax dollars?


Teachers are more than teachers. We do the work of educators, counselors, administrators, disciplinarians. We become more than just someone standing up in front of a room lecturing. We become people that are charged with the emotional and physical well being o students in addition to their academic well being.

And we do it all while we are under appreciated, while jobs are being taken away, while class sizes are exploding out of control and the time of the year when we work is dedicated to nothing but work. And we get blamed for everything because we speak out.

Taken together, these two posts underscore the OBLIGATION we have to fight against a radical agenda that doesn’t want an educated citizenry, wants to funnel pubic money into private pockets, and doesn’t much care about what else happens to anybody.


Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Budget Deficit, Collective Bargaining, Communities, Kutztown University, Links, PASSHE, Public education, Retrenchment, Shock Doctrine, Student activism, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, West Chester University

Just in case you’re not clear on the political context…

…for Tom Corbett’s proposal to slash the PASSHE budget and all public education budgets in PA, for the Feds’ desperate rush to cut spending in the middle of deficit and so on, this gem of a video makes it all crystal clear.  Thanks to Kevin Mahoney from the KUXchange for posting.


So remember–

Wed April 27, 7 pm.  Chester County Courthouse!  Rally for Public Education!

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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Budget Deficit, Collective Bargaining, Contract Negotiations, K-12 Education, Kutztown University, PASSHE, Public education, Shock Doctrine, Student activism, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, 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

Coverage of Rallies, Links to Budget News

Folks: I’ve been a little slow getting this list of links out; fortunately, our colleague Kevin Mahoney at the KUXchange put them all together so I don’t have to.  Nothing I can say about these that he hasn’t already… 


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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Kutztown University, Links, Lock Haven University, PASSHE, Rally, Student activism, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, West Chester University

Of academics, politics, free speech, and fishing

[WARNING: Partisan alert!  If you don’t believe the Republican party is more avidly squelching academic political activity than the Dems are, you won’t like some of these assertions….  –Seth]

If any of you haven’t yet been following the story out of Wisconsin of Professor William Cronon, you should.  An article in this morning’s (Mon 3/28) Inside Higher Ed provides a solid account.

Kevin Mahoney at the KUXchange does an excellent job of contextualizing the issue and explaining its relevance to our current situation here in PA.  He concludes:

Cronon’s case is important because i[t] indicates the length to which this new breed of Republican will go to ensure compliance and squash dissent.  One more reason these folks are going after tenure.  After all, the original purpose of tenure was to ensure that the government or an institution could not silence unpopular arguments.  It was a protection against the kind of tyranny we are seeing in Wisconsin.

Tom Corbett hasn’t directly named public unions or university faculty as enemies of the state in the way that the Walkerites in Wisconsin have, but his attack on our budget couldn’t be more clear evidence that he’s perfectly willing to destroy us.

Think about it this way; in the face of pretty strong response publicly against his PASSHE budget proposal, Corbett’s response has been (predictably) along the lines of, “Well, this was just an opening in what I know will be a negotiation.”

That would sound reasonable, except for one thing.  You should NEVER offer a proposal you’re not prepared to live with.  What would have happened, does the Governor think, had we not responded so quickly and strongly?  What would have happened if the citizens of PA had said, “OK, you’re right, Tom!  Let’s smash ’em up!”

Anyway, more germane to the Cronon case, what we’re seeing around the country right now is an all-out effort to squelch shared governance and academic participation in our national and state politics.  The attempts at suppression don’t just cross campus boundaries but sit squarely on both sides of the boundaries.

Therefore, as a practical matter, I very, very strongly recommend a couple of things–

1.  While the WCU policy on email/internet usage doesn’t specifically preclude using your WCU email for political purposes, it seems like a good idea not to–especially given that President Weisenstein made a point of saying so (and saying not to use WCU letterhead for correspondence with government officials) on his Budget Update page.

2.  Start an account with a commercial service; APSCUF will need you to have one anyway if you don’t already.  Otherwise, as we move into preparations for our contract expiration, you’ll be uninformed.  We simply won’t send out organizational messages or updates on negotiations to campus email addresses; this shouldn’t be news to anybody on either side :).  I recommend Gmail, for a bunch of reasons I can explain if you care.

In the end, I think the law is on Professor Cronon’s side, as it would be on ours should somebody come (metaphorically, I hope) knocking at my door to complain about this blog or my personal one.

But why tempt fate?  Or, as I wrote in an email exchange about Cronon with a colleague the other day, who the hell has time to fool with that kind of challenge when we’ve got actual work to do?


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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Collective Bargaining, free speech, Inside Higher Education, Kutztown University, PASSHE, Tom Corbett, University of Wisconsin, West Chester University, William Cronon

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