New Book Introduces the Pennsylvania Association of State Colleges and Universities (PASCU) to the Students, Parents and Alumni of the 14 PASSHE Universities

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.¹ In it he announces the creation of PASCU, a non-profit organization whose primary goal is to preserve the statutory purpose of public higher education in Pennsylvania: High quality education at the lowest possible cost to the students.

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Privatization Without a Plan

This is an un-American travesty of justice, and PASCU is committed to a corrective course of action that would change the actual governance shares to match the respective funding shares.

Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania (PRWEB) January 08, 2014

The book describes in detail what privatization, compounded with politically expedient but educationally unsound policy decisions, is having on the students and the 14 PASSHE universities in Pennsylvania, which include Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester.

“There would be no need for a non-profit organization of concerned citizens such as PASCU,” Armenti said, “if the current 100% political leadership of the PASSHE Board of Governors would just take the appropriate actions to provide “high quality education at the lowest possible cost to the students, as mandated² by Act 188.”

According to the book, PASSHE’s failure to deliver on Act 188’s promise to the students, parents and donors, primarily alumni—who now pay 75% of the operating budgets at the 14 universities—was inevitable for the following reason: PASSHE has not committed itself publicly to any plan for preserving that purpose. Rather, according to Armenti, PASSHE leaders have avoided mentioning that purpose, both on its website and in public statements by PASSHE’s elected and appointed State officials.

When the PASSHE system first began in 1984, according to the book, the State share of the PASSHE budget was 63%, and the Tuition+Fees+Other share was 37%; but the State became the “minority stakeholder” in FY 1993 when its share of the university operating budgets first fell below 50%.

But in the 21 years since falling below the 50% threshold, the State share of PASSHE’s budget has plummeted to 25%, while the share provided through Tuition+Fees+Other by the “majority stakeholders”—the students, parents and donors, primarily alumni—shot up to 75%, Armenti said.

The book also cites as disturbing the fact that the State of Pennsylvania in the person of its elected and appointed officials—the minority stakeholder providing 25% of the annual funding—continues to fill 100% of the 20 seats on the Board of Governors and the 154 seats on the 14 Councils of Trustees while, at the same time, the majority stakeholders who provide 75% of PASSHE’s annual funding get to fill 0% of the seats on the PASSHE Board of Governors and the 14 Councils of Trustees.    

“This is an un-American travesty of justice, and PASCU is committed to a corrective course of action that would change the actual governance shares to match the respective funding shares.”

According to Armenti, PASCU’s first and highest priority is to educate the majority stakeholders to advocate for reducing the current 100% political control of PASSHE to the 30% level while, at the same time, raising the control level of students, parents and donors, primarily alumni, from 0% to 70%, in rough proportion to their respective levels of annual funding, even as the unrelenting privatization of public higher education in Pennsylvania continues, and students, parents and alumni are forced to pick up an ever-larger share of the financial burden of "public" higher education in Pennsylvania.

¹ 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.

² https://www.keepandshare.com/doc/6772880/act188-pdf-405k.

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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