On Feb. 7, Governor Corbett announced his proposed budget for the 2012-2013 academic year.
This proposed budget included a 20% budget cut for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. For West Chester University, these budget cuts would account to $9.5 million.
“These budget cuts offer a direct line to each and every student at West Chester,” Dee Giardina, Executive Director of Facilities Design and Construction, said.
A common misperception about these budget cuts is based upon new construction at WCU. Many students wonder if we’re having such a budget crises, why are we in the middle of a million-dollar renovation?
As a matter of fact, the building in question, the Student Recreation Center, is a $28.6 million project. However, this building is not funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Giardina explained that there are 79 buildings on campus, originally all funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. However, the Commonwealth no longer funds buildings for “auxiliary use,” such as recreation centers, housing or residence halls, and student unions.
Academic buildings are still funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. However, Giardina explained, renovations were supplemented by Commonwealth funding over the years because several buildings were built at the turn of the century.
“Every student at West Chester University will be affected by these budget cuts,” Giardina said. “Aside from the obvious issues with scholarships and faculty, if classes that you need to take are in a building that is deteriorating around you or improperly facilitated for the class, there’s nothing we can do about it without the proper state funding.”
Considering the loss of $9.5 million for WCU alone, the school will need to supplement costs in a different way. According to Giardina, the two most obvious ways to do this are those that affect the students in the deepest way: either West Chester faculty will experience salary cuts or job loss, or tuition for Pennsylvania State Schools will increase for students statewide.
Clare Haggerty is a first-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at CH757342@wcupa.edu.