Possible faculty layoffs at Mansfield University could hurt students, APSCUF president says

March 22, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:
Kathryn Morton, kmorton@apscuf.org or 717-236-7486

Mansfield University on Tuesday announced possible faculty layoffs at the end of the 2017–18 academic year, a move the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties deems potentially harmful to students and, ultimately, to Mansfield University.

Management delivered a letter of intent for retrenchment to Mansfield APSCUF at the end of a chapter meet-and-discuss session. The topic was not on the agenda and had not been added to the agenda. The letter said academic programs may be affected, but it did not identify which are under review.

April 1 is the deadline for the union to receive letters about possible layoffs due to program curtailment, elimination of courses, or the elimination of the duties and responsibilities performed by nonclassroom faculty, according to Article 29 of APSCUF’s collective bargaining agreement.

“We know from a State System study that students were attending our universities primarily because of academic offerings and the relatively low cost,” APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash said. “Meanwhile, costs have continued to soar, which continues to shut working families out of the American Dream. Now our universities are setting their sights on academic offerings. This is not a strategy that will improve the lives of working Pennsylvanians; it only digs a deeper hole by limiting opportunities and leaves potential students in the dust. Current and prospective students deserve to know the university’s plans as soon as possible, as do all whose futures and livelihoods depend upon Mansfield University."

Per-student funding for Pennsylvania’s public colleges and universities last year was 33 percent below 2008 levels, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

"These actions point squarely to the fact that the State System desperately needs additional funds to operate effectively," Mash said. "If we continue down this road, our policy-makers will have to just admit that they choose to turn their back on a generation and do lasting damage to the Commonwealth."

Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors requested a 2017–18 appropriation of $505.2 million, an increase of $61 million. In his February address, Gov. Tom Wolf announced $8.9 million more for our 14 universities in his budget proposal.

APSCUF represents about 5,500 faculty and coaches at the State System universities: Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania.