LOCAL ECONOMIC IMPACT
The PASSHE universities have embarked on a radical restructuring under the rubric of Chancellor Greenstein’s “System Redesign.” Large cuts in staffing, both of faculty and of professional and classified staff in good unionized jobs, constitute the core of the restructuring. The cuts, amounting to 14 percent of overall PASSHE employment, are of a magnitude equivalent to the largest private-sector plant closings and mass layoffs decade in Pennsylvania—many of which took place in rural and western counties that would take another hit under the PASSHE plan. The cuts would devastate these local economies. Use the form below to tell the State System Board of Governors that this consolidation plan is misguided.
SPEAK UP: The Misguided Consolidation of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is considering a “consolidation” plan at three universities in western Pennsylvania (California, Clarion and Edinboro Universities of Pennsylvania) and three in the north (Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield Universities of Pennsylvania).
After the summer 2020 announcement about consolidation possibilities, the State System needed first to determine whether what it calls “integrations” were financially feasible. The Board of Governors heard these results at its October 2020 board meeting, which you can watch in its entirety via the State System’s YouTube channel, and voted to move forward with the planning portion of the process. The State System presented its plans to the Board of Governors on April 28.
The plan leaves many important questions unanswered, and fundamentally, it does not address the long-term sustainability of the State System, while creating new problems and challenges for students, faculty, and university communities and local economies across the state. Some of those questions include:
Forced hybrid model – so many programs will require students to take online courses, but the plan doesn’t outline how many credits in a program will have to be done online
Equity issues – asking students to come on campus to do hybrid, but plan doesn’t guarantee access to computers, wi-fi, locations to connect to online courses, etc. We’re rushing to get K-12 back in person, but now we’re saying we need MORE online, not less for college students. It doesn't make sense.
No cost savings – the consolidation plan puts in writing what many feared was true: consolidation was initially billed as a way for the State System to cut costs in order to be a more sustainable system for the future, but the plan shows that consolidation does not save any money. And tuition will not decrease. It will cost MORE than stabilizing the current system.
Unanswered questions – what does it mean for four State System schools to become “branch campuses” in consolidated triumvirates? What’s the impact on students? Is there a guarantee that schools will be able to keep their athletic programs?
At the April 28 meeting, the board voted to move the draft plan to a 60-day public comment period. That’s where you come in. Continue to the next page on this site where you will be able to view a draft letter with various questions and concerns about the draft consolidation plan. Submit that letter as public comment as is or edit as you see fit. Thank you for speaking up!