For Immediate Release
For more information contact:
Carrie Hillman 717-515-6846
Last Friday, the Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties (APSCUF) received notice that Cheyney University and Shippensburg University are considering faculty layoffs at the end of the upcoming academic year.
“Our universities never seem to learn,” said Dr. Kenneth M. Mash, APSCUF President. “Threatening to layoff faculty is not the way to improve the university or to improve enrollment. Potential students do not want to enroll at a university that sends the message that their professor or their program may not be there the following year and existing students question their decisions to attend the university.”
The Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education had its budget cut by 18% in 2011, and the universities have been flat funded since. Over the last six years, the State System has placed over 160 programs in moratorium, reorganized another 90 programs, and created a mere 56 new academic programs. The eliminated programs included, among many others, foreign languages and other programs traditionally in the liberal arts.
Shippensburg University has suffered enrollment declines over the last few years. “The leadership at Shippensburg ought to be pulling together its community to focus on its enrollment problems,” said Mash. “This sort of announcement only demoralizes the campus, and it undermines the university’s overall attempt to increase enrollment.”
This is the fourth straight year Cheyney has considered faculty layoffs. “Cheyney University’s problems have been well documented. How heading down the path to layoffs will help its problems is baffling. It is particularly puzzling when one considers that the number of faculty has declined over the past seven years, but their management numbers have remained remarkably steady. It is unfathomable that Cheyney, which a few years ago had a 3:1 faculty to manager ratio, is now close to 2:1,” said Mash.
“It should be clear that all of our universities should be supportive of Governor Wolf and his budget. He has demonstrated his support of public higher education by committing to restoring the 2011 cuts over the next two years. Since 80 percent of our graduates remain in Pennsylvania, we absolutely want them to be prepared for the workforce. It is APSCUF’s hope that Governor Wolf and the General Assembly can come together to craft a budget that helps our students and their families.”