Misinformation being spread throughout Cal U campus about the PennWest integration


Zach Frailey

Facility, California, Pa., Jan. 24, 2022.

Veonna King, Editor-in-Chief

Myths & Facts of PennWest  

From paying to keep Cal U’s name on the diploma to free transport between three campuses, misinformation about the PennWest integration process is spreading throughout the California University of Pennsylvania campus.  

Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson, Cal U’s interim president, said at an October 2021 meeting with the Student Government those rumors and misinformation are posing a challenge to the integration process.

“There’s a lot of information out there but it’s easier to just hear it from somebody and believe it,” said Pehrsson. 

Christine Kindl who is the Vice President of communications and marketing said Cal U has been regularly emailing students to counteract the misinformation and to update them on the integration process. Information emailed included announcements on the selection of university leaders such as the provost and deans of the integrated university’s academic colleges and important reminders on academic credits and athletic identity.  

She added the university plans to provide a series of short videos with insights on integration as it progresses. 

“As new information comes up, we take this opportunity to provide new information and reiterate some of our key points as the integration continues,” said Kindl. 

The videos, she said, will feature a “familiar face on three of each university,” will be in a Q&A format, and will be no longer than 20 seconds. These videos will be shared on the university’s social media platforms and students can expect to see this next semester.  

Below, Kindl clears up popular myths and sets the record straight on the Penn West integration.  

Myth: You will be able to pay to get Cal U put back on your diploma.  

Fact: PennWest is still in the process of being approved for accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Once Cal U is fully accredited, the name change on degrees will be unlikely as “PennWest will be our official name,” said Kindl. According to the universities policy on integration, all third-year students and below can expect the PennWest name change to be on their diplomas.   

Myth: All sports and mascots will merge.   

Fact: Since the beginning of the integration process, Cal U and the two other universities planned to keep their sports teams separate. All three campuses will maintain their current athletics logos, colors, and mascots. Cal U has been working with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to ensure the athletic department and sports team remain the same. “We will still be the Vulcans,” said Kindl.  

Myth: PennWest will become a 100% online university. 

Fact: PennWest will remain as an in-person university. The plan is to just expand the online program such as the global online program. The expansion caters to adults who may have started college but have not finished or who want to obtain a master’s degree but may not be able to attend in person, said Kindl.

Myth: All three universities will offer transportation for all students to travel to all three universities. 

Fact: Cal U has not made any plans at this time to offer students transportation to the other campuses. Students will not be expected to travel back and forth to any of the three universities. However, they can take in-person classes at all three campuses but would need to make their own transport and living arrangements.