Over the past week, real-world impacts (and just plain chaos in some areas) have hit the campus due to the sudden budget cuts that college Deans were directed to implement by upper Administration.
With no time to plan, cuts are being made in haste and in ways that will have both immediate negative impacts, as well as long-term impacts on students' ability to get the classes they need to persist and graduate.
Among the immediate real-world impacts we are hearing about from faculty and academic professionals on the ground:
- Among the colleges, CUPA and COE are being hit particularly hard, having been told to cut 4% and 5%, respectively, from their already strained budgets. This means that, among other impacts, scheduled summer 2023 classes - including those with healthy student enrollment numbers - have been cancelled. The same phenomenon is happening in other colleges.
- Reports are still coming in, but it's estimated that 80 - 100 adjunct faculty members have been notified of contract non-renewals. The inevitable impact of this - in addition to the economic devastation to those adjunct faculty losing their jobs - is that the already unsustainable high workloads of non-tenure-track and tenure-track faculty will be increased. And, students will find it increasingly difficult to get the classes they need in order to graduate on time.
- We have confirmed that incoming graduate students who had been offered teaching or research assistantships have had those offers rescinded. This will negatively impact the programs in which they would have performed teaching and research.
This cannot stand. Students, faculty, staff, and academic professionals should not bear these costs and suffer this damage when PSU is sitting on healthy reserve fund balances (see PSU Finance & Administration Committee report, April 6, 2023; in particular, Slides 32-36; see also, Finance & Administration Committee Dashboard, pp. 23-24).
We must speak out loudly and continue to speak, engaging students and the public until there is fundamental change in how PSU operates, with no more cutting of essential programs.
There is hope, but only if we act to show upper Administration that they are cutting in all the wrong places. Moreover, the Board of Trustees will need to hold Administration accountable to their responsibilities to serve the University’s core mission: serving students. The Board’s unwillingness to tap reserves below $88M, even while they consider providing up to $10M for “strategic investment” and “financial flexibility” for the new President, is having direct negative impacts on our community. We need to show the Board what these cuts mean on the ground.
Actions we all need to take!
- Post that poster! You now have a door flyer in your campus mailbox. Post it where everyone can see: your door, a bulletin board you control, or your window. Keep it there until these long-term goals are achieved.
- Sign this "Stop the Cuts" petition today. Ask your students, colleagues, and concerned neighbors to do the same. Tell the PSU Board of Trustees that students' education and our core mission must be prioritized, and it can't wait.
- Tell everyone what your Bright Future would look like. If you had more colleagues, how would your work-life be different? If your team were fully staffed, what could you accomplish? Click here to download the sign - fill it in, take your picture, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll publicize these on the PSU-AAUP website and social media accounts.
- Attend the June 22 Board of Trustees meeting, in person or online! Click HERE for more details.
If you have ideas for other direct actions we can all take together to make change, please send them to email@example.com. Someone will get back to you promptly.
Emily Ford, President
"A campus that can reallocate resources away from teaching and research is not a campus that can justify cuts in its core mission on financial grounds. Discussions of a campus’s financial state cannot be fairly or responsibly conducted without faculty consultation about budgetary priorities.”
AAUP, The Role of Faculty in Conditions of Financial Exigency, 2013