This is Campus Equity Week across the nation. In Pennsylvania, PASSHE faculty are focused on the state system’s self-destructive process of mass retrenchment.
The theme of Campus Equity Week is “Stand Up. Speak Out. Organize.”
Yesterday at East Stroudsburg, hundreds of students and faculty rallied against the proposed (“planned” would sound more thoughtful than it appears to be) retrenchments there.
Last week, Edinboro students stood in the snow to rally against the faculty and program cuts there.
We are standing up and speaking out. We can still do a lot more of both and A LOT more organizing.
Today, the day the collective bargaining agreement sets for official notice to tenured faculty that they won’t have a job next year, we are to wear red to show our support for Campus Equity Week.
Today, it will be the red of the blood of our colleagues, approximately 40 of our tenured and tenure-track ones who receive letters, and as yet untold numbers (at Edinboro it’s around 35) of our temporary colleagues, whose careers are now “cut off” (the French derivation of “retrenchment”).
Today, it is the red of the lifeblood of our universities, which we see flowing into Pennsylvania’s famous rivers as the arts — most sizably music — are cut to nearly nothing; where the much ballyhooed “STEM” is cut at its root as physics and chemistry programs lose faculty; as our helping hand, in the form of counseling, advisement, and support, is lopped off, leaving students fewer choices and less help in making them.
Today, red is the awful reminder of the governor’s 18 percent cut two years ago and the red ink administrators blame on it.
And red is the color of the unbelievable balance sheets put forward from ESU on the Delaware River to Edinboro on the Ohio border that show the poor management and irresponsible borrowing of university administration after administration.
So, let’s wear red today. And let’s stand up, speak out, and organize.
Because our universities and the faculty, coaches, and students that comprise them deserve nothing less than our loudest voices.
With a heavy-heart, but in solidarity on this sad, sad day,