Category Archives: Office of the Chancellor

PASSHE schools, including WCU, do well in US News yearly rankings

If you missed this post yesterday on the state APSCUF blog, check it out. SEVEN PASSHE schools are ranked among the top regional universities, FIVE in the top 100.

And yet, ironically, you’re not hearing a word about this from the Office of the Chancellor or from any local management that I know of. Why? Because maybe it might call too much attention to the quality of the faculty and students? I dunno…  Maybe because it demonstrates that the Chicken Little crisis rhetoric coming from management is, er, um, maybe a little hyperbolic? Kevin Mahoney and the KU-Xchange crew have laid out the notion of Shock Doctrine and its application in the our system in enough detail that I don’t need to rehash it all here.

If you’re not subscribed to the state APSCUF blog so you get notification of new posts, you should do that by clicking here. And if you’re on Facebook and haven’t yet liked the official APSCUF group, you should do that by clicking here.

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Office of the Chancellor, PASSHE, Shock Doctrine

How academic managers SHOULD feel when they fire people

Via our comrade Kevin Mahoney at KU–

Graham Spanier, President of Penn State, said in a recent interview that the PSU funding cut is like to cost jobs “in the scores” in the university’s Agriculture school (it has to do with the fact that the positions aren’t funded such that increased tuition can recover them–there’s not a lot of detail in the article).

Anyway, as opposed to ANYTHING I’ve heard from PASSHE management as they’ve been retrenching faculty, fighting the union to stop us from getting preferential hiring for retrenchees (as the CBA demands), waving around the threat of further retrenchments as a negotiations tactic, and generally behaving reprehensibly cavalierly about other people’s lives…

pant pant pant…

… Faced with looming layoffs and firings, President Spanier says:

“The longer it takes, the longer we postpone getting to the savings. At the same time, we’re trying to be very fair to our employees and come up with ways to help them find other positions, severance, health benefits,” he said. “These are good people who work hard and really care.”

As I said on Kevin M’s Facebook page when he posted the article this morning, why the hell does Spanier sound downright heroic simply because he acknowledges that firing people is bad for them?

All I hear from PASSHE management is that the top priority is to “protect educational quality” in face of budget cuts. At the local level (and presumably at the state level also, but I haven’t talked with anybody about this), we’ve been pushing at every Meet and Discuss for management to recognize publicly that protecting jobs is also a high priority. While management nods and smiles, the commitment magically never gets made.

Graham Spanier is no hero. But at least he recognizes, and is willing to say so, that there’s a very high human cost to the state’s attacks on higher education.

It’s long past time for PASSHE to figure this out and to act accordingly.

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Budget Deficit, Collective Bargaining, Contract Negotiations, Graham Spanier, Office of the Chancellor, PASSHE, Penn State University, Retrenchment, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, West Chester University

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

Tentative Budget Deal Reached

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting on Friday morning that the PA Legislature and Governor Fracker have reached a tentative deal on the state budget.

The preliminary reports are not good for us, although the numbers aren’t yet very precise. The article indicates that the “state-supported” universities will take a 19% hit, but doesn’t distinguish between PASSHE and the state-relateds. So we don’t yet know exactly what will happen to us.

If that 19% is even close to what we see when the numbers are released, we’re going to have lots of work to do protecting our system from the kinds of Draconian cuts we all know PASSHE already wants to make. Yet again, our state government has provided the cover under which our Chancellor and Board of Governors can radically overhaul our whole system, while pretending that it has anything whatsoever to do with economics.

As a pacifist, I usually am very stridently resistant to military metaphors, but in this case, … Oh hell, I still can’t do it.

But now at least the circular logic of management is laid bare: “We can’t afford to pay for anything [except more managers and management salaries]. Why not? Because we just gave all the money away. See?”

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Filed under Access, APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Budget Deficit, Collective Bargaining, Contract Negotiations, Office of the Chancellor, PASSHE, Penn State University, Public education, Retrenchment, Shock Doctrine, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, West Chester University

A raise by any other name

From an article published widely around PA today, attributed to the Associated Press:

Chancellor John Cavanaugh told a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon in downtown Harrisburg that university administrators hadn’t had a raise in two-and-a-half years. The average 3 percent merit raise went into effect Jan. 1 at a cost of about $6 million a year out of a $1.4 billion system budget, a system spokesman said.

To borrow a phrase from everybody’s favorite President, Ronald Reagan: Here we go again…

It’s become common, during negotiations years, for management to claim that they’ve forgone raises for years while those greedy faculty take huge raises at every opportunity. Chancellor Cavanaugh didn’t miss his opportunity to point this out:

Asked if he would return his raise or ask other administrators to do so, Cavanaugh said the system board of governors sets compensation levels. He also noted that the system’s unionized work force of about 12,000 received raises last year.

Of course, as he says this, he leaves out a handful of salient points:

1. I won’t speak for AFSCME (They’ve spoken for themselves here) or the other unions because I haven’t done the research, but I do know that APSCUF raises haven’t kept up with the pace of inflation for many, many years.

2.  Probably more important, the reason we got raises last year and the years before that is that HIS SIDE AGREED TO THEM TOO.  PASSHE had to sign the collective bargaining AGREEMENT just the same as we did.  For the Chancellor then to assert, no matter how tacitly, that we’d somehow have gamed the system if we got raises and they didn’t is absurd.

3.  Along similar lines: we (all the unions) negotiate our raises with management.  But we get nothing to say about management raises!  If they’ve chosen not to give themselves raises, then fine–but to make us complicit in that is misleading at best.

There’s a lot more to say about this, and I’m sure the Office of the Chancellor will provide opportunities to say it.

REMINDER: Rally for Public Education! April 27, 7 pm, Chester County Courthouse!

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Collective Bargaining, Contract Negotiations, Office of the Chancellor, PASSHE, Rally, Uncategorized

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