The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) was created to provide accessible high quality university education “at the lowest possible cost to the students” of the Commonwealth. Yet the system has suffered ongoing defunding, with cuts totalling more than 30% in just over ten years resulting in PA dropping to 48th in the nation in public support for higher education. Our students have paid the price due to this negligence. 

As noted by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), decreases in state funding lead to declining enrollment and graduation rates for students, particularly for students of color and those from low income backgrounds. Additionally, PASSHE’s decline in state funding has forced students to make up the difference, with nearly two-thirds of PA college students graduating with debt. The average student borrower in the Commonwealth leaves college with over $38,500 in student loan debt, third highest in the nation. Student loan debt disproportionately impacts women and students of color.  

Yet instead of fighting for more funding to support our students, the System’s Chief Executive, Chancellor Dan Greenstein, is pushing for drastic cuts to programs, services, faculty and staff, and, most dramatically, a consolidation of six of our 14 historic universities. This plan, however, does nothing to address the real problem – lack of funding from the State. The Chancellor’s own estimates project these consolidations will result in “savings” of merely .002% of the PASSHE annual budget

This failure is coupled with numerous severe consequences to the consolidation plan including: 

What’s more, this plan has been rushed and lacking in transparency, with timelines for the redesign being cut short, merger plans being retracted and changed, and “public” comments being hidden from view of the public. Still unclear in the consolidation plan is whether the schools under threat of merger will 1) be able to retain their individual athletic programs, 2) be protected from future cuts and closures, and 3) require students to take numerous online courses to complete their programs without concern for technological accessibility

In short: there are grave substantive concerns with the consolidation effort, any of which provides reasons to oppose moving forward. While some faculty would be satisfied with simply slowing the process down to be more thorough and others oppose the concept more broadly, the simple fact is that the Chancellor is forcing a yes/no vote that will impact all 14 of the Universities now and into the future. 

While West Chester University is not part of the consolidation plan, it is imperative we understand the impact this will have on our sister schools and the system as a whole. By introducing a “solution” that only extends the last decade’s framework of cuts, the consolidation plan simply kicks the can down the road. It is only a matter of time before West Chester University and other PASSHE schools suffer the same fate. 

The consolidation is proposed as a “last ditch effort” to save the system, yet we suggest additional opportunities exist to better serve the 14 Universities, their communities, future students, and alumni: 

  • A fully funded state system of higher education, which will boost enrollment, lower debt, and move PA from the bottom 10% of states in support of higher ed
  • Enactment of the Nelly Bly Scholarship, which would help at least 44,000 students afford college in PASSHE schools
  • Better and more transparent utilization of Federal stimulus money

This consolidation plan will only serve to disadvantage students and communities throughout the Commonwealth. The undersigned therefore agree that the consolidation plan must be stopped and the Chancellor and PASSHE Board of Governors should work instead to support the state system and restore funding.

We, the undersigned members of the West Chester University community, demand that the PASSHE Board of Governors vote NO on the consolidation plan and instead push for funding for PASSHE that will provide all PA residents with the opportunity to obtain an affordable and high quality education in line with its historic mission to serve the Commonwealth. 

 

 

Casey Bohrman, Associate Professor, Graduate Social Work

Dana Morrison, Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations and Policy Studies

Jason Wozniak, Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations and Policy Studies

Tabassum Ruby, Associate Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies

Jackie Hodes, Full Professor, Educational Foundations and Policy Studies

Deanna Gabe, Instructor, Educational Foundations and Policy Studies

Meg Panichelli, Assistant Professor, Undergraduate Social Work

Joan Woolfrey, Full Professor, Philosophy/ Women and Gender Studies

Dean Johnson, Full Professor, Philosophy/ Peace and Conflict Studies

Seth Kahn, Full Professor, English

Mark Rimple, Full Professor, Music Theory, Composition and History

Curry Malott, Associate Professor, Educational Foundations and Policy Studies

Erin Hurt, Full Professor, English

Kathleen Riley, Associate Professor, Literacy

Margaret Ervin, Full Professor, English

Michael Boyle, Full Professor, Communication and Media

Martha Donkor, Full Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies

Megan Corbin, Associate Professor, Languages and Cultures

Stacie Metz, Full Professor, Health

Nadine Bean, Professor Emerita, Graduate Social Work

Lisa Konigsberg, Assistant Professor, English

Roxane Petit-Rasselle, Assistant Professor, Languages and Cultures

Emily Aguilo-Perez, Assistant Professor, English 

Jacqueline M. Zalewski, Full Professor, Anthropology and Sociology

Lana Iskandarani, Instructor, Languages and Cultures

Larry Udell, Associate Professor, Philosophy

Michael Malcolm, Associate Professor, Economics & Finance

Iliana Pagán-Teitelbaum, Associate, Languages and Cultures

Thomas Elmer, Instructor, Marketing

Lisa Millhous, Associate Professor, Communication and Media Studies

Deborah Dartnell, Instructor, Psychology

Travis Ingersoll, Associate Professor, Undergraduate Social Work

Megan Schraedley, Assistant Professor, Communication and Media Studies

Meg Niiler, Assistant Professor, Languages and Cultures

Lauri Hyers, Full Professor, Psychology

Ana Sanchez, Assistant Professor, Languages and Cultures

Adam Silverman, Full Professor, Music Theory, History and Composition

Page Buck, Full Professor, Graduate Social Work

David I. Backer, Associate Professor, Educational Foundations and Policy Studies

Peter L. Glidden, Professor, Mathematics

Maxine Gesualdi, Associate Professor, Communication and Media Studies

Lisa C. Huebner, Full Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies

Justin Sprague, Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies

Karen Schwarz, Full Professor, Earth and Space Sciences

Benjamin Brumley, Instructor, Educational Foundations and Policy Studies

Stacy Esch, Assistant Professor, English

Christina Chiarelli-Helminiak, Associate Professor, Graduate Social Work

Ashley Patriarca, Associate Professor, English 

Jamie Woodlief, Assistant Professor, English

Vicki McGinley, Full Professor, Special Education 

Hannah Ashley, Full Professor, English

Kuhio Walters, Associate Professor, English

Ben Kuebrich, Associate Professor, English

Christy Hicks, Associate Professor, Special Education

Kim Doan, Full Professor, Special Education

Tim R. Dougherty, Associate Professor, English

Dawn R. Patterson, Associate Professor, Special Education

Katie Solic, Associate Professor, Literacy

Doug Morris, Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations and Policy Studies

Julie Wiest, Full Professor, Anthropology and Sociology

Joshua Raclaw, Associate Professor, English

John Elmore, Full Professor, Educational Foundations and Policy Studies

Beatrice Adera, Associate Professor, Special Education

Colleen Commisso, Assistant Professor, Special Education

Jeff McLaughlin, Associate Professor, Educational Foundations and Policy Studies

Pamela Walsh, Alumna & Instructor, Kinesiology 

Edward J. Lordan, Full Professor, Communication and Media Studies

Lori Klein, Instructor, Nutrition and Kinesiology

Adam Rainear, Assistant Professor, Communication and Media Studies

James McLaughlin, Full Professor, Mathematics

John Craig, Associate Professor, Educational Development Services

Jason Phillips, Full Professor, Marketing 

Adam Gumble, Instructor, Music Education and Therapy

Mary Buckelew, Full Professor, English

Kristin Kondrlik, Assistant Professor, English 

Elizabeth Munz, Associate Professor, Communication and Media Studies

Yvette Garner, Instructor, Biology

Peter Loedel, Full Professor, Political Science

Jacqueline Alnes, Assistant Professor, English 

Cristóbal Cardemil-Krause, Associate Professor, Languages and Cultures

Mia Ocean, Assistant Professor, Graduate Social Work

Jelena Colovic-Markovic, Associate Professor, Languages and Cultures

Merry G. Perry, Associate Professor, English 

Emily Bullock, Full Professor, Vocal and Keyboard

Eric Sweet, Assistant Professor, Biology

David Thomas, Assistant Professor, Educational Development Services

Andre Perkoski, Instructor, Mathematics

Melissa Cichowicz, Associate Professor, Chemistry

Cecilia Chien, Full Professor, History

Charlie DelMarcelle, Associate Professor, Theatre and Dance

Matt Snyder, Full Professor, Counselor Education 

Kevin Laskey, Instructor, Music Theory, History and Composition

Angela Norkiewicz, Instructor, Accounting

Liam Oliver Lair, Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies

Andrew Sargent, Full Professor, English

Deborah Dartnell, Instructor, Psychology 

Tim Sestrick, Associate Professor, University Libraries

Sharon DeJoy, Associate Professor, Health

Clifford Johnston, Full Professor, Mathematics

Julian Onderdonk, Full Professor, Music History 

Marc Jacoby, Full Professor, Music Education 

Richard M. Busch, Full Professor, Earth and Space Sciences

John Kinslow, Full Professor, University College and Exploratory Studies

Metello Mugnai, Associate Professor, Languages and Cultures

Jordan Stokes, Assistant Professor, Music Theory, History, and Composition

Naijian Zhang, Full Professor, Counselor Education 

Orhan Kara, Full Professor, Economics and Finance 

Megan A. Infanti Mraz, Full Professor, Nursing 

Neil Curtis, Associate Professor, Sports Medicine 

John Kinslow, Full Professor, University College & Exploratory Studies

Cassie Striblen, Associate Professor, Philosophy

Ann Hiloski-Fowler, Instructor, Music History, Theory, and Composition

John Hess, Instructor, Economics and Finance

Mitch Goldfarb, Instructor, Kinesiology

William H. Sawyer, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Physics and Engineering

Denise Wallack, Instructor, Biology

Lesley Siegel, Assistant Professor, Special Education

Paul Morgan, Full Professor, Educational Foundations and Policy Studies

MaryEllen Troy, Instructor, Chemistry

Sherri Craig, Assistant Professor, English

Gabrielle A. Halko, Associate Professor, English 

Kyle P. Vealey, Associate Professor, English

Rodney Mader, Full Professor, English

Randall Cream, Associate Professor, English

Cheryl Wanko, Full Professor, English 

Erin McCourt, Instructor, English 

Amy Anderson, Associate Professor, English 

Eleanor Shevlin, Full Professor, English

Rachel Banner, Associate Professor, English 

Yanira Rodriguez, Assistant Professor, English

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