PASSHE faculty members to be laid off by end of the 2020-21 academic year

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — More than 100 faculty members of Pennsylvania State Colleges and Universities will lose their jobs at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.

More than 100 tenured and tenure-track faculty members who are being laid off are set to receive a letter by Friday, Oct. 30, per the Union contract. The faculty members affected by this decision work at Cheyney, Edinboro, Indiana, Lock Haven, and Mansfield Universities of Pennsylvania.

PASSHE said in a statement that Pa. institutions are continuing to challenge the status quo in an effort to reshape public higher education in the Midstate and “recapture [their] affordability edge in a competitive marketplace.”

The state agency’s statement went on to say, “While these efforts present opportunities to grow and adapt, they also require us to be honest with ourselves and with our most important constituencies – students, faculty, staff, administrators and elected state leaders. The trajectory of enrollments and costs both nationally and acutely felt here in Pennsylvania, underscore the need for a variety of bold changes.”

Today’s deadline is the first in a series of alerting faculty members that they could be retrenched.

Despite a contract signed late last year, the President of the union representing these faculty members said they were never informed of this financial situation.

“It’s reprehensible in my opinion to be doing this now and to have not have let us know during contract negotiations that this was a possibility because we could have found ways to avoid this during that time,” Dr. Jamie Martin, president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, said.

Martin also said the chancellor told PASSHE presidents the institutions needed to get back to the 2010-11 student ratios. According to PASSHE, there are too many faculty with declining enrollment since 2010.

While receiving a retrenchment letter does not necessarily mean faculty members will not have a job next year, seven out of the 14 state institutions are affected by this decision, not including Shippensburg University or Millersville University.

Additionally, the APSCUF collective bargaining agreement provides opportunities for professors with retrenchment letters to be relocated to other departments. However, openings in other departments are less likely this year, Martin said.

“We’re talking about faculty layoffs, but it’s going to impact our students and that’s not even being discussed for the most part,” Martin said.

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