July 21, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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California University of Pennsylvania today withdrew its letter of intent for retrenchment, quelling concern that faculty cuts could be possible there at the end of the 2017–18 year.
“Management has acknowledged that the hard work of our faculty has helped to contribute to making Cal U academically strong and now more sustainable,” said Barb Hess, president of the Cal U chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.
Hess said she appreciated the efforts of State APSCUF and her local retrenchment team.
“Dr. Craig Smith, Dr. Jason Kight, Dr. Richard LaRosa, and myself spent a great deal of time reading documents and talking with management,” she said.
April 1 was the deadline for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education to inform the association about possible layoffs due to program curtailment, elimination of courses, or the elimination of the duties and responsibilities performed by nonclassroom faculty, according to Article 29 of APSCUF’s collective bargaining agreement. After Cal U issued its warning, APSCUF members and administrators held meet-and-discuss sessions at state and local levels to find solutions that were best for students and the faculty members retrenchment would affect directly, APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash said. The university reviewed academic programs and analyzed enrollment projections, according to a message California President Geraldine Jones sent Hess today. Legislative appropriations and tuition rates affected the university’s decision, too, Jones’ message said.
Letters of intent to retrench remain on the table for Cheyney, Clarion, Edinboro, and Mansfield universities. Such letters do not mean faculty definitely will be laid off, but they add to an atmosphere of uncertainty, Mash said.
“California’s withdrawal was wise,” he said. “Other universities should follow suit. We know universities have an obligation to spend money wisely, but eliminating programs and faculty members hurts quality and opportunities, and universities exist to provide opportunities for students.”
APSCUF represents about 5,500 faculty and coaches at the State System universities: Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania.