APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash’s comments begin with some extemporaneous remarks about a faculty survey. His prepared comments begin at about 1:50. Read APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash’s comments as prepared:
Chairwoman Shapira, governors, Chancellor Greenstein, presidents, and guests,
My name is Kenneth M. Mash, and I am the president of APSCUF, the union that represents over 5,000 faculty and coaches in our great System.
I want to take the opportunity once again to thank the chancellor and the board, and particularly the chair, for the productive contract negotiations — what I believe was and continues to be an honest attempt to start a new day of collaboration so we may all pull in the same direction and focus our attention where it should be, which is on our students.
That effort will continue in the next few weeks as we jointly will explain to administrators and faculty not only what changes have been made to the CBA but also the spirit of those changes. I know that some credit the process that we used during the negotiations, but I tend to think that our collective efforts were fruitful because of the leadership and goodwill of the individual members of the teams.
The board and the chancellor’s efforts to promote shared governance, to work collaboratively, to operate transparently, and to emphasize accountability go a long way to begin the process of changing a culture that I think almost everyone involved would agree had reached toxic levels.
However, we cannot fool ourselves. After years of distrust and bad feelings, we must all be cognizant that the ice remains thin. I have been pleased by reports from some campuses that there has been a change in approach, that administrations have reached out and become more transparent, that input is being taken seriously.
At the same time, I am disheartened by reports from other campuses, where decisions have been made — particularly decisions that impact academic quality — with little or no consultation. Or where decisions are being made that impact peoples’ lives with an air of callousness. Or where willful violations of the CBA have occurred that result in real financial cost to the university.
For many, “systemness” is a new thing. But please understand that for APSCUF systemness is not new. We have always, and I believe always will, have an understanding that what happens on one campus has an impact on others. And reports of deeds on one campus do affect the attitude of faculties across the System. How a president or a provost behaves on one campus will impact how everyone weighs the success of the project we are on.
Cultural change is a very hard thing to pull off, and it takes time. You — the board and the chancellor — have undertaken a lot at one time. To be successful, all of us need to pull in the same direction. But I hope everyone understands that cultural change must cascade down to every campus, and it must be done with the same alacrity with which we confront our financial, enrollment, and retention issues. Those harboring resentments are, by human nature, waiting to pounce on failure.
And if some of our universities do not alter the way they do business, failure will be inevitable. Not the failure of one university, but of the System. We must all do everything in our power to make certain that does not happen.