If you’re a faculty member, student, alum, staff person, even a manager in the PA State System of Higher Education, I hope you’ve followed what’s happened over the last two days if you weren’t already keeping up with the news about the Chancellor’s Consolidation #BadPlan4PA.
On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, the State System Board of Governors hosted four public comment sessions via Zoom where interested folks could put our positions about consolidation on the record. Well over 100 people (students from at least six different institutions, faculty and staff from almost every institution, local business owners in several towns where consolidations are likely to cost jobs and potentially students, and more) spoke. Only one of those people supported the plan, and to be honest, he didn’t really even support it because of its details, but on the grounds that “doing something” is better than doing nothing. It was an endorsement, but hardly a ringing one.
Those of us who spoke in opposition, on the other hand, raised specific issues that the plan doesn’t address; problems the plan is likely to make worse; problems with the process by which the plan got developed; unanswered questions, the actual answers to which could save or ruin people’s educations and livelihoods.
If you didn’t watch or participate in those sessions, the first thing you should do is look at these two posts on the APSCUF blog:
- In first day of hearings, speakers call on BOG to vote no or delay consolidation plans
- Day 2: In hours of testimony, advocates urge Board of Governors to stop or delay consolidation plans
If you don’t have just under 8 hours (!) to watch all four sessions, at the bottom of each post is a thread of live-tweets from each day. At the very least, you owe it to the people who spoke to read them if not watch them, and to acknowledge the weight they were willing to take on by speaking in such visible, candid, and powerful ways.
And then you need to answer the call, if you haven’t participated in any of the actions we’ve asked you for. At this point, here’s what we encourage.
- Send a comment to the Board of Governors, using their online comment form.
- Send a message to Governor Tom Wolf, asking him not to support the plan, and to make clear to the Board of Governors that he does not support the plan.
- If you’re comfortable making a statement on video, register for an APSCUF-hosted Comment Session on Monday, June 14. Registration is required.
- If you’re a current or retired WCU faculty member, contact me to sign onto letter circulating locally calling for the Board of Governors to vote no on the plan.
- Follow PASSHE Defenders on Facebook, and attend (at least help advertise) their rallies.
- Although there’s no more formal role in the process for members of the PA legislature (unless the plan is defeated and we need new legislation to start the process over again), you can certainly let your legislators know that funding the system properly would obviate the need to overhaul it so radically, and that supporting initiatives like the Nellie Bly scholarship go a long way in the right direction without having to go through this mess again.
If your reaction is to be irritated that I’m calling on you to do at least one of these to honor the work that so many of your APSCUF and AFSCME siblings, your friends, and our students have already done, I’ll be sorry about that after this is over. Feel free to remind me I said so, but not without doing your part first.