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Bring a Financial Expert to Penn State

Published: at 12:00 PM

The Coalition for a Just University (CJU/PSU) believes that faculty, staff, grad employees, undergrads, tuition-paying parents, and all members of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania deserve detailed information about Penn State’s financial resources. According to early statements by the administration, its projected losses from COVID-19 could reach $260 million in the worst case scenario — though more recently top leaders have acknowledged that the university’s finances are currently in better shape than those dire warning suggested. In any case, the university has billions (yes, billions) of dollars in liquid reserves. Why, then, has Penn State been progressively making the jobs of non-tenure-line faculty even more precarious, shortening the length of contracts and specifying that they can be terminated on short notice? Why, instead of dipping into the university’s substantial reserves, did the administration immediately freeze salaries? Why are most departments unable to hire new faculty, and why is the university failing to fill vacancies among staff vital to Penn State’s daily operations, while continuing to hire highly-paid administrators? Why the refusal to extend an extra year of funding to graduate students whose academic progress has been delayed due to the pandemic?

In recent weeks, some non-tenure-line faculty from various units and campuses have in fact been notified that their contracts for SP21 will be altered. We have also seen the surprising layoff of 30 IT employees.

All of these actions not only threaten the livelihood of Penn State workers; they also have detrimental effects on the quality of education and support that we can offer to students.

CJU/PSU invites your contribution to a collaborative fund that will be used to hire a renowned accountant and expert in university finances to conduct a thorough investigation into and analysis of Penn State’s financial resources and budget. In addition to providing a detailed report, the accountant will then offer a public presentation via Zoom to educate all of us on this important topic. Please contribute any amount you deem appropriate. All funds collected will go toward paying the accountant’s fee, and if we do not collect the necessary amount, all contributions will be returned.

This is one small action we can take together to have a significant impact on our ability to hold the university accountable to all of the Penn State community.