On July 1, when Pa. Governor Tom Corbett completes the annual budget, it will allocate funds to West Chester University and the 13 other state-owned universities in Pennsylvania. If the budget Corbett proposed is passed, schools can expect a 20% loss in their government funding compared with the 2011-2012 fiscal year. This comes after the 19% loss in state funds from 2010-2011. As a result, WCU students paid 7.5% more for their tuition in the fall of 2011 than they had in 2010. These cuts have also lead to the loss of the WCU Children’s Center.
In response, students and faculty at WCU, alongside the 13 other Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities, have been organizing an opposition. On March 28, 2012, Lisa Millhous, President of the West Chester chapter for the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), led WCU students to a rally on the steps of the capitol building in Harrisburg to peacefully protest the budget cuts.
“We have to make sure our voices are heard because the decision will be made on June 30th,” Millhous said. WCU Students and faculty have planned and carried out various demonstrations on West Chester’s campus. One such demonstration will be taking place on Wednesday April 18 at 12:50 p.m. in the Academic Quad. This is part of a state-wide day of action.
“I’m excited for this event. It will send a powerful message in the hope that changes will be made,” WCU Student and activist, Jake Babb said.
Students are also prepping for the Presidential and State Primary elections on April 24, 2012. All of the members of the PA House are up for re-election and all of them will be casting votes before July 1 on the state budget.
Lisa Millhous added, “We need to make sure people get out and vote because legislators will be looking at the results of this primary to understand where their constituents are.”
Alex Hibbs is a student at West Chester University majoring in English. He can be reached at AH735688@wcupa.edu. Hannah Peters is a second-year student majoring in Latin and German with a minor in studio art. She can be reached at HP744135@wcupa.edu.