STATEMENT: On the PASSHE Board of Governors Vote on Consolidation Plan

HARRISBURG – July 14, 2021Following the vote of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors to approve the consolidation/integration plan, Save Our State Schools spokesperson Danielle Gross made the following statement:

“We are extremely disappointed in the vote of the PASSHE Board of Governors today to move forward to the implementation stage of the State System consolidation plan. The Board of Governors voted to make the most drastic change to the State System in its history after blowing through a deliberation process with a short public comment period, only seven days to review a last-minute, revised plan with no public comment on that final plan, and with serious questions unanswered. “Given these significant outstanding questions—will academic programs still be accredited, will the athletic teams still exist on these campuses—not delaying the vote until there is at least some clarity on these items is incredibly irresponsible. Students have not been on campus since the plan was released, which is why the Board of Governors should at least wait until the fall when students return to campus and have the opportunity to give thoughtful feedback on the plan for the first time. “Students are not the only stakeholders left out in this rush to judgment - the latest batch of public comments, released just days ago, includes wide-ranging commentary from the PA Commission for Community Colleges, which was not consulted throughout this planning process. “The other unanswered question after overwhelming public feedback asking the Board of Governors to reject, or at least delay the plan: was this process all a sham? Members of the Board of Governors heard from them, but did they really listen? Was the point of the public comment process just to get to the vote, or was the point to bring people to the table and listen? And for the Chancellor, was the result of this process predetermined? “In the end, we hope the State System, the Board of Governors — and Governor Wolf and state legislators who have a stake in this process, as well — will be more willing to listen to stakeholders as they move to the implementation stage. No less than the very existence of these critical institutions is on the line, as are the legacies of those responsible for implementation, so they must get this right.”

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