PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Gov. Tom Corbett stopped by the University of Pittsburgh campus in Oakland this morning where he met with hundreds of students about his proposal to cut funding to the college by 30 percent.
Gov. Corbett used the forum to state his case in a question and answer session. But the questions had to be written.
In an atmosphere that brought protestors to campus to mark his visit, Gov. Corbett tried to offset those perceptions early.
“Let me ask this question, ‘How many of you think I hate Pitt?’” he asked and many in the crowd raised their hands. “You’re wrong.”
Corbett explained he faced a $4.2 billion deficit that would have required $900 in taxes for a family of four to make up the difference.
But Pitt students, whose questions were read to Gov. Corbett by student leaders, still thought the university was being unfairly targeted.
Question: “So you’re asking Pitt to carry more weight than you’re carrying the state from a nominal perspective?”
Corbett: “From a very gross picture it would look like that, but what we’re looking at is this entire picture because other people that are being reduced – Penn State’s being reduced – there are other people being reduced because we are having to increase our spending in other areas, and here’s one of the problems. You all might not like this, and I don’t necessarily like it either, but that pension obligation is one that we have to pay.”
Question: “Aren’t students being disenfranchised?”
Corbett: “There’s no disenfranchisement; I disagree with that. The cost of education has become the disenfranchisement if you’re going to call it that. There are other options of education for other schools of education. It may not be the school of choice, but there are other options.”
“Students with the grades and brilliant students are not going to be able to attend the University of Pittsburgh, and it’s going to become an institution that is really catering to only people that have money,” said Zoe Samudzi, a student.
The next battle in this war is before the state legislature in Harrisburg.