At the same time as the strangling of the Philadelphia School District, the effects of Governor Corbett's cradle to the grave attacks on public education have been felt at the State System of Higher Education, and possibly an underreported story in the state.
Our blog, the Raging Chicken Press, has been covering the developments at PASSHE over the past couple of months. These developments include hiring a Jeb Bush acolyte and one of the creators of the school voucher programs, which help privatize public education, as the head of the SSHE.
Then there has been two rounds of retrenchment - or laying offs - of tenured and non-tenured professors. The first round of retrenchments happened at Clarion University. The article "Shock Turning to Anger and Mobilization at Clarion University – “We’re going to be as rowdy and unpleasant as possible.'" states:
In the wake of the devastating cuts proposed by the Clarion University administration and President Karen Whitney, it took a few days for faculty, staff, and students to shake off the initial shock and disbelief. Shock and disbelief has given way to a mobilization effort to save the three programs slated for immediate cuts and to prevent the firing of 22 faculty and 20 staff members.Yesterday's article, "Budget Ax Falls on Faculty at Edinboro University," shows that 40 more faculty members will be laid off at the end of the school year. That article states:
Many of the 22 faculty slated to lose their jobs have been at Clarion for years – some for decades. In the next several days and weeks, Clarion University’s campus will be bustling with activity and not just from the annual arrival of thousands of students on “Move-In Day.” Clarion University will be bustling with the sounds of organizing.
Edinboro University’s Operations and Workforce Plan calls for the elimination of 40 faculty members, 9 staff members, and 6 managers. Of the faculty members slated for retrenchment, at least 18 are tenured or tenure track. The proposed cuts amount to a 10% cut in faculty.The article also indicates that other universities in the system are going to be following "the plan."
In a statement released from APSCUF today, Edinboro-APSCUF chapter president Dr. Jean Jones said, “We are shocked by management’s actions. The administration has deliberately chosen to publicly release a plan that fires faculty and staff instead of meeting with us to discuss the proposal.” The administration’s decision to bypass the union and publicly release the workforce plan may prove to be in violation to the union contract just settled this past spring.
The plan seeks to place five programs into moratorium, which prevents any new student from enrolling in the programs but allows existing students to finish their major before the classes necessary to complete the majors are completely eliminated. The programs are:
Bachelor of Arts in German
Bachelor of Arts in Music
Bachelor of Arts in Music Education
Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
Bachelor of Arts in World Languages and Cultures
This is not a good day for public higher education in Pennsylvania. Edinboro is the second PASSHE university to be told their administration plans on slashing programs and eliminating faculty and staff. Clarion’s faculty have already started to organize against the proposed cuts and faculty at the six other universities who are targeted for retrenchment – California, Cheney, East Stroudsburg, Kutztown, Mansfield, Slippery Rock – are bracing for the day their administrations release their new workforce plans.