Category Archives: West Chester University

ACTION ITEM: Write your PA Senator NOW!

This letter went out to all APSCUF members from our Legislative Director, Laura Saccente, this morning. Some of you don’t read your e-mail over the summer, and many of you (who see the blog posts on Facebook) aren’t APSCUF members.

One editorial note–this version of the letter is addressed directly to constituents of Senator Dinniman. If he’s not your Senator, you should write to your own.

Laura’s letter explains why you need to do this, so I don’t have to. Just do it.

Dear APSCUF member,
 
In May 2011, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a budget bill (House bill 1485) that would set the appropriation for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) at $427.8 million. While this is better than the originally proposed cut of 54 percent, it still represents a cut of 15 percent, or a $75 million reduction from last year’s state appropriation to PASSHE.
 
The budget proposal is currently in the Senate, and we need you to contact your Senator and ask for additional funding restoration for PASSHE.  Additional restoration could help keep a large tuition increase at bay and further reduce staff layoffs.   Please contact your own member, Senator Andrew Dinniman, the Education Chair, at andy@pasenate.com or (717) 787-5709.
 
Time is very limited and the budget will be wrapping up soon, so please take five minutes to send your email or make a phone call today!  Please do not use university email or stationary when making your case.  If you have already contacted your senator in recent months, this is the opportunity to follow up with him or her to request restoration of PASSHE funding.
 
When giving examples on the reason to restore funding, please consider how PASSHE has wisely used its appropriations dollars, how cuts may affect department/program cuts and class sizes, how a large tuition increase will limit the ability for some to attend, etc.  I’ve also attached a general budget message sheet if you need additional talking points.  Let your senator know today, before it’s too late, how the proposed cuts may impact your campus.
 
Thank you,
Laura Saccente

Leave a comment

Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, PASSHE, Public education, Student activism, Tom Corbett, West Chester University

Our own Chuck Bauerlein in the Inquirer!

Folks:

Our very own Journalism/English faculty member and APSCUF Legislative Assembly delegate Chuck Bauerlein published this excellent letter in the Sunday Philly Inquirer–

In an article Monday (“On college funding, Corbett is half-right”), Timothy R. Lannon argues that slashing assistance to Pennsylvania’s 14 state universities and its state-related universities is a splendid idea – as long as Gov. Corbett shovels a percentage of the savings to students attending schools such as his, St. Joseph’s University, in the form of Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency grants. He figures “$78 million, or about 12 percent of the institutional aid reduction,” would be a nice figure.

This would indeed assist the students who attend private institutions. It would help defray the expensive tuition that schools such as St. Joseph’s charge (between $35,000 and $40,000 a year). It would also be akin to providing school vouchers, and would encourage families to send their children to private or Christian schools instead of public schools.

It would, however, hurt those lower- and middle-class families who cannot afford to send their sons and daughters to private universities. In-state tuition at the university where I teach is still less than $6,000 a year, a bargain compared with St. Joseph’s.

Corbett’s budget cuts will likely mean an increase in tuition at the state’s public universities. But parents who can afford to send their children to private Catholic schools should not benefit from those cuts.

Chuck Bauerlein

Assistant professor of journalism

West Chester University

Thanks, Chuck, for making this case so directly.  “Public money for higher ed” isn’t all created equal.

Leave a comment

Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Private higher education, Public education, Tom Corbett, Tuition increase, Vouchers/School Choice, West Chester University

Corbett’s plan for PASSHE budget restoration

It’s taking almost all the inner strength I can muster not to launch into the most profane tirade in human history.  At what?  This proposal from Gov Kill-the-Schools-Drill-the-State Corbett:

Some Pennsylvania universities should consider drilling for natural gas below campus to help solve their financial problems, Gov. Tom Corbett said Thursday.

The Erie Times-News reported that Corbett made the suggestion during an appearance at a meeting of the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees at Edinboro University.

Corbett said six of the 14 campuses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education are located on the Marcellus Shale formation, part of a vast region of underground natural gas deposits that are currently being explored and extracted.

So let me see if I understand this.  The state should slash its appropriations to the state-owned universities in half.  Then, the universities, at least the six lucky enough to be sitting on gas reserves (not WCU, by the way) should poison their communities, students, faculty, staff, and anybody else within poisoning distance by extracting that gas using a method that’s demonstrably stupid and dangerous.

And who would get the contracts to perform the extractions?  Me wonders, yes, me wonders, My Precious…

Leave a comment

Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Budget Deficit, Communities, Follow the Money, PASSHE, Public education, Tom Corbett, 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?

And:

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.

4 Comments

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

Why we MUST turn out tonight at the Chester County Public Education Rally

[Please share widely among WCU Faculty, Students, Staff, Family members, Friends]

Tonight’s Chester County Rally for Public Education is on, rain or shine.  Current weather forecast (as of about 11:45 am) says a slight chance of rain the evening.

If you (and students are invited to do this too) want to join the APSCUF Funeral Procession (mourning the death of higher education if Tom Corbett wins) and march up to the courthouse, meet at the APSCUF office around 6’ish.  Wear black if you have it.

If you can’t or don’t want to join the procession, just be on the courthouse lawn @ 7.

If you’re still not convinced that YOU have to YOUR PART in this fight, if you still believe that us loudmouth rabble-rousers will do your part for you, if you don’t think the threat is serious enough to warrant being at the courthouse for one stinkin’ hour, read on.

This is a somewhat modified version of the “speech” I gave at the student-led walkout/rally last week in front of Sykes Hall, starting after the hortatory “thanks for coming” stuff.  –Seth

I have only four things to say today, and I’ll make them very quick.

1.  We’re winning this fight.  If you’ve read or listened to or seen any news in the last couple of weeks, you know that lawmakers in both parties are pushing back hard against Governor Corbett’s original proposal to slash our state budget allocation by more than half.

The reason we’re winning is because we’re doing THIS WORK: rallying, writing, calling, postcarding, petitioning.  Let there be no mistake about that.

2.  Now that we fall all good about ourselves…  We haven’t WON anything yet.  There won’t be a budget in place for weeks, and a lot of bad [oops!] can go down between now and then.

That means we can’t afford to let up.  The gains we’ve made in both legislative and public support are important and impressive but fragile, and the second we stop pushing, the second the hammer falls on us.

3.  Now that we’re all scared again, there are two important things for us to be doing right now.  First is turning out for events like the Rally for Public Education at the Chester Co. courthouse on Wed 4/27.  Second is to make sure our contact networks are alive and well through the summer so we can stay organized and keep fighting together.

4. And finally, whatever happens between now and the passage of our budget; whatever happens between now and full restoration of the budget we need and deserve: don’t ever forget who picked this fight.  It wasn’t us–students, faculty, staff members, university employees, our families, our friends.  It wasn’t us, and the people who did pick it need to pay a steep price for that.

For those of you (and I know who some of you are) who are getting ready to graduate, or who don’t believe the current attacks on public education mean anything to you, I have only this to say:

If you intend to teach in a public school at any level, you’re a target.

If you care about anybody who teaches in, otherwise works for, or attends a public school, you’re a target.

If you believe that anybody besides the wealthiest Pennsylvanians deserve a shot at achieving anything remotely resembling a secure future, you’re a target.

Don’t let the slow place of the budget process lull you to sleep.  FIGHT!

Leave a comment

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

Come mourn public education under Corbett!

If Corbett’s budget passes, faculty will be retrenched, programs will be gutted, classes will grow huge, and service loads will become unmanageable. Our public school colleagues are facing the same problems. CORBETT WANTS TO KILL PUBLIC EDUCATION.

So WCU APSCUF has decided to hold a Funeral for Public Education before the Chester County rally on Weds 4/27.

Join the funeral procession as it marches down High Street. Meet at the WCU campus (exact location TBA) at 6:30 on 4/27. Dress in black and look for the coffin!

Leave a comment

Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Rally, Tom Corbett, West Chester University

The irony is almost too bitter

Consecutive order in my Inbox, right now (Thurs 4/21, 9:42 am):

*Notes from a special Meet and Discuss on Tuesday (which I can’t share), in which management says both that it intends to fully protect the faculty against retrenchment and that retrenchment is possible.  I understand they want to take the position that they’re on our side but can’t guarantee anything, and that it might even be true. 

*A message from President Weisenstein glowing about our recently completed Middle States evaluation process, including among MSCHE’s highest praises for WCU the following:

–      West Chester has been blessed to recruit and retain high quality faculty and staff, who are extremely loyal to the campus and dedicated to ensuring students receive a quality education, both in and outside the classroom.

So let me get this straight.

On the one hand, our local management is doing the delicate dance of simultaneously threatening and saving us from the evil budget boogeyman out there.

On the other, a major multistate accrediting agency is pointing out that one of the major strengths of the university is its ability to retain faculty.

Ouch.

Leave a comment

Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Middle States Commission on Higher Education, PASSHE, Public education, Retrenchment, Shock Doctrine, West Chester University

A message from President Weisenstein about Retrenchment

WCU faculty colleagues, just in case you missed this somehow–

PASSHE/APSCUF colleagues, I’d be interested in knowing how your local managers have addressed this situation with you–

WCU students, I believe the President when he says he’s committed to protecting the quality of your education, although we might disagree on how best to do that.  Either way, now that he’s said publicly that this is his TOP PRIORITY, it’s incumbent on all of us to hold him to it.

TO:        The Faculty of West Chester University
 
FROM:  Greg Weisenstein, President
 
DATE:  April 18, 2011
 
RE:       Retrenchment Statement
 
As we are all aware, the state budget picture for PASSHE and West Chester University is full of uncertainty.  This uncertainty requires us to prepare contingency plans for the 2011-12 academic year.  I want to emphasize that as we go through this process, we are focused on our number one priority: ensuring that our students continue to receive a quality educational experience.
 
Given the current high level of budgetary uncertainty and the many issues facing us, retrenchment, layoffs, and furloughs cannot be ruled out for the 2012-13 academic year.  I do want to assure each of you that we are doing all we can to avoid any of these actions.  However, we need to comply with provisions in the collective bargaining agreements between PASSHE and our several unions that require various timeframes for notification of such potential actions.  For example, under the requirements of the collective bargaining agreement between APSCUF and PASSHE, I have sent a letter to Dr. Clifford Johnston, president of the WCU chapter of APSCUF, notifying him of the possibility of actions affecting WCU faculty.
 
It is very important for you to understand that no decisions have been made, nor will they be made until we know how much state funding we will receive and what the tuition rate, set by the PASSHE Board of Governors, will be.  Neither of these funding amounts will be known until the end of June 2011.
 
Even though we need to plan for every possible scenario, we are aware that all decisions we make, both operating and personnel, have an effect on the lives of valued colleagues.  In this uncertain budgetary environment, people are understandably worried.  At the same time, West Chester University’s reputation for excellence is directly built on your achievements and success, and we will not compromise on that excellence.  I ask that we all continue to work hard at supporting our students and one another.  You can be confident that the contributions of each and every one of you are recognized, appreciated, and respected. 

Leave a comment

Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Collective Bargaining, Contract Negotiations, PASSHE, Retrenchment, 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!

Leave a comment

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

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
**********************
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

Leave a comment

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