Earlier today, the Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale, released an audit of Cheyney University. The Association of Pennsylvania State College and Universities Faculties (APSCUF) represents the over 6,000 faculty and coaches of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), including over 100 faculty and coaches at Cheyney.
APSCUF President, Dr. Kenneth M. Mash, issued the following statement about the audit:
“The 18% cut to Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities in 2011 has caused significant damage to our colleges and our students. It should come as no surprise that Cheyney University, the smallest of our universities, faces dire circumstances. This cut began a vicious cycle. It’s hard to attract and retain quality students without adequate funding. Low enrollment then leads to even less funding for the university. It is tragic that this cut would threaten the existence of the Commonwealth’s only state-owned Historically Black College and University (HBCU) – the oldest HBCU in the country.
“While the financial situation at Cheyney is indeed dire, it is not fatal. All parties – lawmakers, the State System of Higher Education, students, faculty, and administrators – must come together to preserve a university that has an important role in the 21st century. It is a place that is uniquely positioned to provide opportunities for students to succeed. Cheyney’s faculty are actively involved in ensuring student success.
“Every one of our 14 universities has struggled as a result of the 2011 cuts. Key programs have been eliminated, class sizes have grown, and student services have been reduced. At the same time, the costs to students have escalated. At the system’s inception, the state covered 75% of the costs of college. Today, that state support has dwindled to 23%, shifting the burden to students and their families.
“The solution for Cheyney, as I see it, is two-fold: increase the state appropriation to the state system, and second, take immediate measures to increase enrollment. APSCUF and our faculty across the system are committed to do whatever we can to see both happen. Cheyney University is a Pennsylvania jewel, and we look forward to working with the Chancellor, University officials, lawmakers, Governor-Elect Wolf, and all others who respect the university’s past, as well as its future.”