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Clarion Faculty Cutbacks May Signal More Elsewhere

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Jon Delano Jon Delano
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CLARION (KDKA) – Clarion University will lay off 40 employees campus-wide, including 22 faculty members, about ten percent of its educators.

“Twenty-two is the largest number of faculty proposed to be cut anywhere since the state system started in 1983, so that’s quite a shock,” Dr. Steve Hicks told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday.

Hicks is the president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, the organization that represents faculty at the fourteen state schools.

He says Clarion is not likely to be alone.

“To do what they’ve done at Clarion, the union gets a letter before August 1st saying we’re thinking about doing this. As of August 1st of this year, we have letters from eight different universities,” said Hicks.

Among those eight, besides Clarion, are the following local schools — California, Edinboro, and Slippery Rock.

So why is this happening?

First — a drop in student population, especially in western Pennsylvania.

“In higher education, we have less students graduating from high school. Therefore, we have less students that are going to be doing on to our schools of higher education,” noted Prof. Michael Slavin, president of California University’s chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.

Slavin says what really hurt has been Governor Corbett’s and the legislature’s 18 percent cut in state funding.

“The hit came so hard and so quick and devastating to higher education and to general public education. I’m not sure that a lot of our schools are going to be able to recover from it.”

Educators say the governor, state legislators, and university administrators need to hear from the public — soon, repeatedly, and loudly — or what is happening at Clarion will happen elsewhere.

Feedback on the cutback can be sent to president@clairion.edu by September 2, 2013.

For more information on the cutbacks, click here.

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