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October 12, 2012

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Contact: Lauren Gutshall
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Faculty members demonstrate at meeting of the State System Board of Governors

HARRISBURG – Today one hundred faculty members, represented by the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), advocated for a fair contract at the quarterly Board of Governors’ meeting of the State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). Faculty at the 14 state-owned universities have been working without an agreement for over fifteen months; APSCUF has offered binding interest arbitration to help settle a contract.

Dr. Steve Hicks, president of APSCUF, said, “This is the longest we have gone without a contract in the 40-year bargaining history of the faculty union. We are here today to call for a fair contract that benefits our faculty, our students, and our campuses; binding arbitration would provide us closure to this long-going process.”

The State System has until October 15, 2012, to accept binding arbitration. Key outstanding issues include health care for both active employees and future retirees, distance education, and workload and compensation for temporary faculty.

Speaking before the board, Professor Mary Popovich, a temporary faculty member at California University of Pennsylvania, noted that the definition of “temporary” is “to use, serve, and enjoy for a limited time.”

“Temporary faculty have been used, served, and enjoyed for a limited time,” stated Popovich. “Is this the future of our State System schools?”

Dr. Kevin Mahoney, a professor at Kutztown University, advocated for a fair contract that recognizes the contributions of faculty to their students, their universities, and the State System.

“As Chancellor, you can’t have it both ways,” Mahoney asserted. “When you call upon faculty to unite with our administration, our university presidents, and your office, to stand by your side to help defend PASSHE against some of the worst budget cuts we have ever seen in the history of this institution, and then turn around and put a proposal on the table that disrespects the fundamental nature of our work.”

Dr. Paul Quinn, also a faculty member at Kutztown, implored the board to reach agreement with APSCUF. He hand-delivered over 50 letters written by colleagues who were unable to attend the meeting because of classes and other university commitments.

“I am a representative of the faculty who are working in the trenches with the students to educate the citizens of Pennsylvania,” Quinn stated.

Faculty members who could not attend the board meeting continue to send letters and emails to the Chancellor in support of a quality contract.

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties represents over 6,000 faculty and coaches at the 14 State System universities.