HARRISBURG, Pa., July 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Wednesday, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education's (PASSHE) Board of Governors voted to move forward with consolidation plans impacting nearly half of the universities in the PASSHE system. This plan will merge three universities in western Pennsylvania (California, Clarion, and Edinboro Universities of Pennsylvania) and three in northern Pennsylvania (Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield Universities of Pennsylvania).
The decision to carry out the vote on consolidation took place Wednesday afternoon, after months of public comment that featured overwhelming opposition from faculty, students, campus staff, and impacted union members and representatives who spoke out against the proposed plan.
In response to Wednesday's vote, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale said, "We stand with our union brothers and sisters who have expressed uncertainty at what their fate and those of their students hold. We stand with APSCUF in their commitment to advocating for students and faculty, and join AFSCME in support of workers who will be impacted both directly and indirectly as the merger moves forward."
"Hundreds of people – faculty, staff, students, family members, and local business owners have voiced their concerns over the past few months" Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder said. "We are committed to supporting the efforts of APSCUF and AFSCME to ensure that the concerns expressed are addressed as this process moves forward, and you can guarantee that we will continue to fight for the workers who are impacted."
The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO has been strongly opposed to the proposed PASSHE consolidation plan due to the potential job cuts of staff and faculty at all 14 state system campuses, the lost opportunities for students and alumni of the targeted universities, and the negative impact that this proposed merger could have on the local economies in each area. You can read the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO's official comment to the Board of Governors which urged them to delay a vote on the plan here.
The first cohort of students will begin at a consolidated university in August 2022 with the integrated curriculum being finalized by August 2024.