Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania (PRWEB) February 06, 2014
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.²
“Privatization Without a Plan is a story about alleged public malfeasance leading to personal and tragic consequences,” Armenti said. “If true, such malfeasance, according to Dictionary.com, would amount to ‘the performance by a public official of an act that is legally unjustified, harmful, or contrary to law.’”
According to Armenti, the public officials in question include Pennsylvania elected officials, appointed officials, and senior policy executives, arranged in a hierarchy in which elected officials select the appointed officials, and the appointed officials select and direct the senior policy executives.
The alleged malfeasance, according to the book, was easy to document because the actions in question by the public officials appear to violate not just the spirit but the letter of the law.
“The personal and tragic consequences are difficult to document, however, because they are mostly things that did not happen as a result of the malfeasance,” Armenti said, “including the deserving PASSHE students who did not graduate, the worthy PASSHE alumni who could not afford to start a business, and the other PASSHE students and alumni who could not afford to support a family.”
Armenti claims that his book provides evidence that the Act 188 statutory purpose of the PASSHE state-owned universities, high quality education at the lowest possible cost to the students, was not provided to PASSHE students since 2002, reducing the promise of Act 188 to empty words for those students.
“This is not a failure of law,” Armenti asserts, “but rather a failure of Pennsylvania public officials to obey the law.”
“That failure may be seen in the fact that the public officials with authority over the PASSHE universities have for years been focused on offering the lowest possible tuition, i.e., lowest sticker price, when the law, Act 188, requires a focus on the lowest possible cost to the students, i.e., lowest bottom line.”
“Recall Mark Twain’s dictum: ‘The difference between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.’ And so it is in this case as well. “
According to Armenti, that one failure alone, substituting ‘tuition’ for ‘cost to the students’—which makes the cost of attendance too high, and the burden of crushing student-loan debt too unbearable—leads directly to deserving students who don’t graduate, worthy alumni who can’t afford to start a business, and other students and alumni who can’t afford to support a family.
“And because Privatization Without a Plan could only infer but not fully document the personal and tragic consequences of the malfeasance in this case, I call upon all PASSHE students and alumni to document, via social media, their own stories in their own words. A few of those stories may carry a happy ending, but too many more may not. And until that situation is rectified, the work of preserving the statutory purpose of public higher education in Pennsylvania will remain unfinished.”
² 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/.