The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Sen. Jeff Piccola, held a hearing today on a package of bills championed by Sen. Andy Dinnimanthat would update state law related to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). There are currently six bills; each one is sponsored by a senator who represents a PASSHE institution or is a trustee at one of the universities. In his remarks to the committee, APSCUF president Steve Hicks expressed some reservations about the various pieces of legislation. In particular, APSCUF came out against any repeal of Act 182, the State College Faculty Compensation Law, which provides the basis of APSCUF’s collective bargaining rights. From his remarks: ] repeals Act 182: APSCUF cannot support this portion of the bill. Act 182 provides the framework for the collective bargaining arrangement between PASSHE and APSCUF. One of our lawyers has called it the equivalent to our Bill of Rights. While many components of Act 182 seem outdated, the law provided the foundation for collective bargaining and arbitration decisions prior to the formation of system. Act 182 is embedded in the fabric of our system and the relationship between PASSHE and APSCUF: it is the only statutory source, for example, of the length of our academic year. The law may be outdated in spots, but given its key role in the formation and definition of the system and the union, we believe it can be altered but must remain in place or it changes our very definition as a system.” As many of you know, our collective bargaining agreement deals with intellectual property. One piece of proposed legislation would dive into this delicate issue, and Steve spoke to the concerns of many faculty during his testimony:
Others that testified at the hearing:
- John Cavanaugh, chancellor of PASSHE
- Greg Weisenstein, president of West Chester University
- William Ruud, president of Shippensburg University
- Keith Barrows, executive director of the Lock Haven University Foundation
To review the other speakers’ testimony, please visit Sen. Piccola’s website and view the hearing’s agenda.
In case you missed it, PCN will air the hearing in its entirety tonight at 9:30 p.m.
UPDATE: In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s coverage of the hearing, Chancellor Cavanaugh had this to say about the 18-percent budget cut for PASSHE this year: “”The impact is clearly being felt by our faculty and students.”