[I just sent this letter to the Governor. It takes up a theme I’ve been developing here on the blog for the last few weeks: “Who does that help?” I don’t expect the kind of reply the letter calls for, of course, which is one reason I’m posting it here. It becomes a lot harder for him not to answer if A WHOLE LOT OF US ask it. Yes, that’s a call to action.]
As a faculty member and union leader on a PASSHE campus (WCU), I’m sure you can understand that I’m reacting to your proposal to halve our state allocation for next year with some dismay.
I’m also sure that other concerned faculty, who are better at making financial arguments than I am, have been (or soon will be) elaborating our case for a less draconian (from our perspective) budget cut–to you in hopes that you’re willing to rethink/compromise, and to our local legislators in hopes they’ll support us.
So rather than trying to convince you on specific economic grounds that we really need x dollars system-wide in order to function, I want to ask a somewhat different question. If the Legislature gives you what you’ve asked for, and our allocation drops by half, who does that actually help? Who, as specifically as you can say, actually benefits from that move? Where, specifically, does that money go instead of to PASSHE, and how does that shift benefit the system’s students and their families, the system’s employees and their families, and the communities that depend on their PASSHE campuses in large part for their economic well-being?
Believe it or not, although I’m a committed liberal and a union officer, I’m willing to hear responses to that question with an open mind. I will, however, be demanding in the sense that a response without specifics isn’t enough. Who does it actually help if you win and enforce such radical budget cuts on a system that has already shrunk or condensed our operations as much as we can without sacrificing the quality education students and the Commonwealth rightly expect of us?
Thank you for listening, and I’ll be looking forward to your reply.