Recent Faculty Layoffs at Four PASSHE Universities Suggest Armenti’s 2010 Prediction of Imminent University Bankruptcies May Have Been Accurate

The 14 PASSHE universities in Pennsylvania include: Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester.

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Armenti asserts that the $500 million figure is not an unsubstantiated estimate but a figure based on official PASSHE spreadsheets, that is, public documents available to citizens via a Right to Know request.

Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania (PRWEB) November 20, 2013

Angelo Armenti, Jr., the former Villanova University Dean and 20-year President of California University (Cal U), recently announced the release of his new book, Privatization Without a Plan: A Failure of Leadership in Pennsylvania Public Higher Education.

Some three years after Armenti made his stark prediction of bankruptcy to elected and politically appointed State officials who control the PASSHE universities, the first sign that his prediction may have been accurate emerged recently in news reports of “faculty retrenchment” at four of the universities.

Media stories published between mid-August and late October 2013 reported that Clarion (1), Edinboro (2), Mansfield (3) and East Stroudsburg (4) had, in that order, announced plans to cut tenured faculty positions, and to take other actions, in order to close large budget gaps ranging from $5.5 to $12 million.

Armenti’s book is based on an invited one-hour keynote address he gave before a joint meeting of the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees (P.A.C.T.) and the PASSHE Board of Governors (BOG). Invited to the joint meeting were 154 trustees from the 14 universities, 20 members of the BOG, and 14 PASSHE presidents. As described in Armenti’s book, the title of the keynote address was “The Future of Public Higher Education in Pennsylvania.” A video of that presentation is available at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl_wYG3OC88.

As shown in his book, Privatization Without a Plan, and as seen in the video, his predictions regarding the future of public higher education in Pennsylvania were made in the form of three assertions.

“Assertion 1: California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U) and all the public universities in Pennsylvania are being privatized without a plan.”

“Assertion 2: The business model under which the 14 PASSHE universities currently operate is financially unsustainable. Without changing key policies that drive that business model, PASSHE universities will face severe financial distress and bankruptcy in the near term, resulting in impending mission failure in the near term as well.”

“Assertion 3: Although the PASSHE universities were intended to carry out the purpose spelled out in Act 188 of 1982: “…to provide high quality education at the lowest possible cost to the students,” the rapid decline in Commonwealth funding, compounded by key operating policies, portend mission failure, both with respect to providing high quality education, as well as with regard to providing the lowest possible cost to the students.”

In describing those assertions, Armenti’s book makes the following declarations:

“Assertion 2 (predicting the imminent bankruptcy of the PASSHE universities), and Assertion 3 (predicting the imminent mission failure of the PASSSHE universities) were both presented publicly to the PASSHE Trustees and Board of Governor members, along with Assertion 1, at the October 13, 2010 meeting.”

“This book contains evidence for the validity of Assertions 1 and 3, not just as predictions, but as things that have already happened. The evidence for Assertion 2 as a compelling prediction is also presented. But until the huge fund balances accumulated by some of the PASSHE universities get consumed, totaling over $500 million, university bankruptcies may be avoided a little while longer, although furloughs, layoffs and other bankruptcy-avoiding measures are certain to become regular news items in the future.”

Armenti asserts that the $500 million figure is not an unsubstantiated estimate but a figure based on official PASSHE spreadsheets, that is, public documents available to citizens via a Right to Know request.

(1) http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/08/clarion_university_restructuri.html. Penn Live, August 16, 2013.
(2) http://www.post-gazette.com/education/2013/09/11/Edinboro-University-plans-faculty-program-cuts/stories/201309110152. post-gazette.com, September 11, 2013.
(3) http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/09/mansfield_university_becomes_t.html. Penn Live, September 26, 2013.
(4) http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2013/10/30/East-Stroudsburg-is-fourth-state-owned-Pennsylvania-university-to-announce-cuts/stories/201310300139. post-gazette.com, October 30, 2013.

Privatization Without a Plan: A Failure of Leadership in Pennsylvania Public Higher Education is on sale now, available from Amazon.com in paperback and e-book. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=angelo%20armenti.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Angelo Armenti Jr. served as President of California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U) from 1992 to 2012. Before that, he was a Dean at Villanova University, a professor of physics, and author of The Physics of Sports (American Institute of Physics, 1992). During his career at Cal U, Armenti is credited with establishing numerous funding sources for student scholarships and for campus revitalization projects, efforts made in part to address the problems that he describes in Privatization Without a Plan. In June of 2012, Armenti founded a non-profit corporation entitled The Pennsylvania Association of State Colleges and Universities (PASCU) whose mission it is to preserve the purpose of public higher education in Pennsylvania. He also writes for his weekly blog at http://angeloarmenti.blogspot.com/.


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