Students, Faculty Members Attend ‘Underfunded We Fail’ Rally in Harrisburg

Lauren Griffith, News Editor

   As funds for California University of Pennsylvania and the other 13 state schools continue to decrease, students and faculty are facing the challenge at hand and making their voices heard, quite literally.

   The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) organized a rally at the State Capitol building in Harrisburg this past Monday. The goal of the rally is to get state legislators to realize the importance of funding for state universities, like Cal U.

  Roughly 30 students and 10 faculty members made the trip by bus to the State Capitol. APSCUF hoped to send a bus full from every state university to petition for a fair budget to be passed.

     With Cal U recently furloughing seven positions, the university has been greatly effected by the budget, and as had to resort to other means to come up with the money necessary to keep programs running.

    The funding for state universities has remained the same since 2008, when the recession hit. Instead of increasing the funding coming from the state, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) has raised tuition each year for the past six years.

  These small increases add up overtime. For a student graduating this May who completed their degree in four years, the tuition increase totals up to $821.  Without the budget passed, it is hard to tell if the tuition will continue to increase over the next couple of years.

   Barbara Hess, Cal U’s APSCUF chapter president, encouraged those in attendance of the Spring Faculty/Staff Convocation to get on the bus in support of their university.

   “I know what you are thinking. We just missed Monday classes because of the snow day, and you can’t miss another one. But what happens when there are no more Monday classes?” Hess said.

    Over 300 people were expected to attend the rally, entitled “United We Stand, Underfunded We Fail.”

The budget cuts have effected nearly every aspect of Cal U—the number of majors and classes offered, athletic programs, various offices on campus, and resources for students. One resource for students that has taken a big hit is the Louis L. Manderino Library.

    In an interview with the Herald Standard, Bill Meloy, research and electronic collections librarian, said,      “The cut to our library budget has been significant. The reduction in library funding has resulted in the purchase of very few books and journals for its collection recently.”

  PASSHE Chancellor Frank Brogan was set to comment on the state of affairs at the rally.

    “We want to get out there and let people know this is impacting our students,” Meloy said.