Posts Tagged ‘no confidence’

Earlier today I posted this to AAUP’s Academe Blog. Here’s the first few paragraphs. If you want to read the full article, click on the link at the bottom of this post. Or, go to the full article now by clicking here

At my monthly department meeting yesterday, the department’s representative to our University Senate gave his report on their last meeting. As part of his report, he told us some of the concerns our university president, Javier Cevallos, expressed about a recent drop in enrollment. Cevallos’s remarks before our University Senate echoed a statement he released in October 2012 in order to explain another $3 million shortfall:

Budget Shortfall 

This fall semester, Kutztown University is facing a problem of serious magnitude.  For the second straight year, the university has experienced a drop in enrollment.

Almost 300 students have made the decision not to come back to KU to continue their education for this fall semester. While we realize many of our sister institutions and private universities within our region are facing the same situation, the drop we are experiencing this year is much larger than we have had in the past.

Upon learning of this, we immediately identified the students and called them to determine their status and/or reasons for not returning.  Although we are still evaluating the information we have gathered, it is evident that we need to become more effective at retaining our students.

As I stated at our opening day gathering, each student we lose seriously impacts our budget.  With only 20 percent of funding coming from the commonwealth, and with our operating budget based on our year-to-year enrollment, the student body is our lifeblood.

As a result of this enrollment loss, we face a shortfall of $3 million on top of the reductions we have already made.  I have decided to cover this gap with carry over funds on a one time basis to meet the deficit in the current year.  Although this is only a temporary solution, it will provide us with time to thoughtfully consider base budget reductions, beginning next year, in the context of our mission.

I want to stress the importance of our role in student retention. We all need to go above and beyond to assist our students in persisting and graduating from KU.   It is crucial to the future of our university and the region.

I urge you all to put our students first, and do whatever you can to make KU a place they will take great pride in.   It is really going to take each and every one of us to help KU overcome this challenge in the future.

This story of “fiscal crisis” has been the norm at Kutztown University for most of the ten years I have worked here. Cevallos’s latest visit to the University Senate was ostensibly, in part at least, to report the university’s findings after gathering information about the reasons why students did not return to Kutztown University. He reported that most of the students who did not return were from Philadelphia and most of those were African-American and Latino students. Not only has the loss of students impacted KU’s budget, Cevallos expressed concern that the loss of these particular students has also hurt the university’s diversity – which has been a focus of his administration as well as a “performance indicator” that figures into the PA State System of Higher Education’s funding formula. Two key reasons Cevallos offered for the decline in enrollment were 1) the possibility that West Chester University – a sister institution located closer to Philadelphia with train service from the city; and, 2) a drop in the amount of financial aid students were receiving. Funding crisis. Diversity crisis. Sister-university-stealing-our-students-crisis.

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Yesterday, over 500 faculty members from across the 14 universities that make up the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) converged on the PASSHE Board of Governors meeting at the Dixon Center in Harrisburg. Here’s a couple video snap shots of the action. To check out all the photos I took, you can visit this photo album.

“Contract Now!”

APSCUF President Steve Hicks and Vice President Ken Mash Close Out the Day of Picketing

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Today is the last day for APSCUF members to vote on strike authorization! APSCUF-KU Members: Voting starts at 9:00 am and ends at exactly 3:00 pm. Please make every effort to get out and vote. We’d like to hit 100% turnout, but that can onl

y happen if you get out and vote. The polling station is in OLD MAIN 200 A (the entrance is on the side of Old Main facing Stratton Administration building. Call the APSCUF-KU Office at 610-683-4277 if you have questions. We are all busy, but this is our last push so let’s make it count.

At the end of voting today, all ballots will be immediately boxed and sent overnight to APSCUF state offices in Harrisburg. Votes from all 14 campuses will be counted in Harrisburg on Friday. Yup, we’ll know the results before Thanksgiving!





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APSCUF members are now in the 16th month without a contract. As each month rolls by, our paychecks buy less. Like many faculty, I live with the constant worry of a furnace breaking down or an unexpected car repair bill. I hadn’t imagined that 10 years into my tenure at Kutztown, I would still be living paycheck to paycheck.

I wanted to know more about what it means concretely to continue to go without a contract, no cost-of-living increases, no steps. I did some research and put together a little graphic that helps to demonstrate the persistent erosion of our economic conditions. So, here it is: Let’s Go Grocery Shopping!

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With the increasing numbers of submissions to Raging Chicken Press, we’ve been thinking of expanding our publishing schedule from once a month to twice a month. If you’ve been following the going-ons in our little corner of activist media, you know that I’ve been batting around the idea of doing an “Early Edition” at the beginning of each month. Well, here’s our first crack at it. As you’ll see, this “Early Edition” has fewer contributions, but if we continue to get the kind of submissions we’ve been getting, we might just try publishing full editions twice a month. Frankly, the only thing that is holding us back from doing so at this point is the work load. And, yes, that sentence is a segue to a call for aspiring activist journalists, videographers, editors, podcasters, and social network enthusiasts to c’mon out and join us Raging Chickens. At this point, we’re all volunteers and we can use whatever skills you bring to the table. Interested? Drop me a line at ragingchickenpress@gmail.com.

Here’s the contents for the May Early Edition:

If you’re still thinking about contributing to the May issue of Raging Chicken Press, remember the deadline for submissions is this Thursday, May 10th. It looks like we’re in good shape to go ahead and publish the May issue on the 15th.

The Never-Ending Fundraising Drive

There are 52 days left in this round of our fundraising drive. The good news is that as of this writing we’ve raised $515.00! A little side-note to all of you who contributed so far, you’re thank you gifts will be on their way very soon. After several unexpected setbacks, I got a package this week with stickers, mugs, t-shirts, and more to send out to all of you awesome Raging Chicken supporters.

The less good news is that we’ve only raised about 2% of our goal. It’s been a learning experience for sure. I could not be happier with the amazing work we’ve been able to do with next to no resources (other than those that come out of my pocket). However, we’re growing fast and are hitting the limits of what we can afford to do. For example, one of our writers is doing some pretty amazing investigative research on fracking out in Western Pennsylvania. He’s been able to do some great work over the phone and email, but we’d like to be able to send him out there for a few days with a video camera and recorder to talk to the affected families. Imagine if Raging Chicken Press had the resources to cover some of the costs of this kind of investigative research. Pretty cool. My goal from the beginning of this project was to appeal first to the progressive community directly for support. The idea was that the more that this project is funded by individual members of the progressive community, the more we can ensure it will always be for the progressive community in a very concrete way. We recognize that not every progressive out there has the time or ability do the kind of work we are doing here. But we can build a networked community of contributors and donors to help strengthen our movements.

It’s clear that I’m going to have to rethink how to best fund this project for the long haul. I am wide open for ideas and help! Let me know if you’ve got some ideas for raising funds. I’ve been looking at some grants, starting a membership program, and approaching some regional, progressive organizations directly. We’ll see what comes of it all.

Shop Progressive and Support Raging Chicken Press

Another very easy AND FREE way you can help support what we do is to use the links on the right-hand sidebar to do all your Amazon.com, fair-trade coffee, and book shopping. Use the search boxes or click through and shop as your normally would. You will have the same experience as if you went to the sites directly. The only difference is that part of your purchase, generally 4-8%, will go directly to Raging Chicken Press. Even better, bookmark the links and use that bookmark every time you shop.

Here’s three links that you can start using right now to help support what we do:

I want to put in a special plug for the Shop Indie Bookstores link. Here at Raging Chicken Press, we are now using this site for buying all of our subscriber give-away books. The Shop Indie Bookstores link not only allows you to buy from Independent, non-chain bookstores, you can choose to shop local. That’s key. For example, we’ve bought several books directly from the Doylestown Bookstore using the Shop Indie Bookstores link. Why does that matter? Well, here’s the persuasive case made by Indiebound.org:

When you shop at an independently owned business, your entire community benefits:

The Economy

  • Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43.
  • Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
  • More of your taxes are reinvested in your community–where they belong.

The Environment

  • Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.

The Community

  • Local retailers are your friends and neighbors—support them and they’ll support you.
  • Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
  • More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.

We’re certainly convinced. So, next time you’re thinking about ordering a book online, picking up a good read for a gift, ordering textbooks for school, or downloading an eBook (yes, Indies do eBooks too!), consider going Indie and going local. And, to ge the most bang for your buck, use our Shop Indie Bookstores link and support Raging Chicken Press while you support your local community.

A Note on the May Issue

I think you’re going to really dig the full May issue. We’ve got some great interviews and articles that remind us that the month of May begins with May Day–International Workers’ Day. The Occupy Movement organized actions around the country, which seemed to be the opening shots of an American Summer. We plan on being there as actions over the summer heat up. Let us know what you will be doing to fight back.

Bread and Roses,

Kevin Mahoney
Editor Zero, Raging Chicken Press

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