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HARRISBURG – On Sunday, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), the organization representing the 6,000 faculty and coaches at the 14 state-owned universities, agreed in principle to negotiate a one-year wage freeze as called for in Governor Tom Corbett’s March 8th budget address. “We are prepared to negotiate a wage freeze this year in the context of similar sacrifice shared by our administrative and management counterparts,” said a motion passed unanimously by a committee comprised of representatives from the 14 universities.

“Our primary concern remains with our students to whom we have devoted our professional careers.  We are united with them, their families, and all those who recognize the value of public higher education,” said APSCUF president Steve Hicks, “and we hope to fully concentrate our efforts on restoring the funding that is vital to helping our students achieve their dreams.”

“The Commonwealth must also recognize its obligations to Pennsylvania’s students.  Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities are extraordinary resources that allow students of working class families to build a better future for themselves and for the Commonwealth,” Hicks continued.

In recent years, the Commonwealth has steadily reduced its support for the universities, and the burden of such reductions has fallen consistently upon the students, faculty, coaches, and staff of the state system.  Students have paid increased tuition and fees, taken on more debt, seen elimination of their programs, and experienced a growth in class sizes.  APSCUF faculty and coaches have felt the effects of decreased funding by accepting years without pay increases, paying more in healthcare contributions, absorbing the loss of both temporary and regular faculty, and taking on increased workloads.

“We want to do our part to support our universities and respond to the governor’s call for a one-year wage freeze.  We want to be part of the solution,” Hicks said. “We hope the General Assembly does its part by meeting the Commonwealth’s obligation to the State System of Higher Education by restoring the critical funds necessary for our students to have the same opportunities their brothers, sisters, and parents had to improve themselves and to secure Pennsylvania’s future.”