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Death Threat Note to Quinn

This article was originally published on Raging Chicken Press earlier today. You can read the full article here and check out our continuing coverage of KU’s new gun policy. 

This past week, Kutztown students, faculty and staff were first learning of the university’s new weapons policy which opens the campus to guns. The new policy, according to the Morning Call, will give “Kutztown more gun freedom than most of the state-owned universities, even more than the sample policy suggested by the state’s attorneys,” despite statements to the contrary by the university’s president, Javier Cevallos. It didn’t take long before the radical, pro-gun playbook showed its ugly face. Shortly after he first heard about the policy under consideration at an April meeting of Kutztown’s Administrative Council, the president of the faculty union, Dr. Paul Quinn, began receiving anonymous death threats.  Faculty first learned of these threats at a May 9th meeting of the union’s Representative Council and the Morning Call reported on the threats this past Friday.

I spoke with Quinn over the weekend about what happened.

Quinn, a physics professor, said after his classes on Thursday, May 2,  he walked into his office to find that someone slipped a folded note under his office door. “At first, I didn’t think anything of it,” he said. “I opened the note and it said, ‘Drop the gun issue or else.'”

Quinn said that after he read the note he immediately made several calls, including one to the Executive Director of Kutztown’s Human Resources department. She told Quinn to go to the police immediately. “I alerted my Chair and my Chair said yes, go.” Quinn and a union representative met with  Kutztown University’s Director of Police Services and Acting Chief of Police, John Dillon shortly afterwards.  “The only time I could get there was around two o’clock,” Quinn explained. “I had an office hour from 1:30 to 3:00. So, I normally would have been in my office. I went at two o’clock to deliver that note to Public Safety. When I got back an hour and a half later, there was a second note under the door. The second note said, ‘What scares you more, guns or death?’”

“What this means,” Quinn said, “is that someone was watching.”

Up until a union Representative Council meeting on Thursday, May 9, the only official word about the university’s new gun policy from the union came from a May 3 email from Quinn to faculty. The email included links to the university’s old policy and the new policy. Quinn wrote,

Fellow Faculty,

Here is some information for you to be aware of.  The administration has decided to change the current weapons policy on campus.  The link to the new policy is included below.  Administrative Council discussed it at their last meeting, and now it has been posted on the website.  I am sending you this email so that you are aware of this change.  I have attached the previous policy so that you can see what the comparisons are for yourself.  This change seems to be occurring at other Universities in the state system, one of which is Millersville, however, not all have adopted the change at this point.  Please be aware that you should NOT be discussing this in your classes unless it is related to the material covered in your course.  Feel free to talk about it OUTSIDE of your classes, but discussion in classes can lead to discipline.  We will be discussing this change at Representative Council next week.  Have a good weekend.

The fact that Quinn received death threats on the day before he wrote this email to faculty suggested that a person or group of people think that Quinn is leading an opposition to the university’s gun policy. “What’s weird is that I have not taken a position on this new policy,” Quinn said.

According to Quinn, the first he or faculty members on the university’s safety committee had heard of the new policy was at the last Administrative Council meeting on April 19. “After a five-minute discussion, they wanted to vote on it,” Quinn recounted. Quinn said that he did not have time to digest the impact of the policy, so he abstained from voting. “I didn’t vote yes or no.” Quinn said he wanted a chance to better understand the issue. “It was my understanding — and the understanding of other faculty members on Administrative Council — that the university administration still had to work with PASSHE on the policy and it probably wouldn’t be effective until the fall, which is why I thought I had time to discuss and get input.”

Quinn contacted other faculty members who have experience in law and public policy — some who were also avid gun owners — to ask their opinions. Quinn was given several resources to help him look into the issue. When Quinn asked Kutztown President Javier Cevallos if the new policy was public, Cevallos said it was. “So, this policy was not secret, I planned on bringing it up at Meet and Discuss and at Rep Council,” Quinn said.

Quinn presented the new policy at the union’s next Executive Committee meeting. “I talked about it with Exec and Exec was furious” that this was the first they had heard that the university administration was writing a new weapons policy. “So we decided that we would contact a lawyer to get a white paper opinion from someone who was not APSCUF or PASSHE,” Quinn explained. “Somehow, that information must have gotten out.” And then came the death threats.

Quinn said their have been additional notes and other forms of intimidation, but he is not at liberty to discuss them as they are now part of an official police investigation. Quinn, however, is not intimidated. After he told his chair of the first note, his chair was very concerned. “He said I needed to go home,” Quinn recalls. “I said, ‘bullshit. I am not going home’.”

To read the rest of the article, CLICK HERE

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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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Last night on the 10pm newscast, WFMZ ran APSCUF’s strike authorization vote as the lead story. It was a pretty good story and from what I am told, WFMZ actually beat the Associated Press to the story. Pretty cool.

STATE COLLEGE, PA

Delegates from the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties unanimously approved a strike authorization vote Saturday, according to its members.

Delegates from each campus, including Kutztown University and East Stroudsburg University met in State College Saturday for the decision.  The vote will now head to the full membership of the APSCUF.

The vote comes amid stalled contract negotiations….

Check out the full story here

While the story was pretty objective, I posted a couple of my concerns about the story as it ran on the APSCUF-KU 411 facebook page. Here ya go:

Pretty good coverage from WFMZ. While the story as a whole was pretty objective, there are a couple issues of concern:

1) On the 10pm live newscast (not in the text on the linked page) mentions the issue of a 35% cut in the pay for temporary faculty as an “other issue.” That does not reflect the position of our negotiating team or our discussions at yesterday’s Legislative Assembly. The attack on temporary faculty is a CENTRAL issue of contention. PASSHE’s proposal would und

ercut the quality of education and the ability of PASSHE universities to attract high quality faculty. (see Amy Lynch-Biniek’s article on this issue: http://goo.gl/ryycn ).

2) Again, on the 10pm live newscast, but also on the linked page, health care and retiree benefits are simply listed as “issues.” This can leave the impression by viewers/readers that we are asking for MORE benefits – a concern that is born out in the comments on WFMZ web page. APSCUF is no asking for more and the details of what PASSHE has been doing with our health care over the past decade or so is down right despicable, if not criminal. Over $100 million dollars “stolen,” in the words of our lead negotiator, from our health care plans. And, PASSHE wants to TAKE AWAY retiree benefits. That’s the issue. I really hope some crack reporters will get into these issues seriously at some point. It’s like a murder-mystery once you see the details.

All-in-all, though, thanks to WFMZ for the solid coverage. They were one of the first news outlets on the story. I heard tell that they actually be the AP on this one!

We do have our work cut out for us.

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Check out the Shippensburg’s student newspaper’s article and video on the recent APSCUF-SU protest against Corbett’s cuts:

APSCUF Rally Draws Crowds Against Cuts

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Raging Chicken Press Ready to do Battle, But We Need Your Help

Earlier today PA Governor Tom Corbett, announced a 20% cut to PA’s 14 campus State System of Higher Ed. Cuts to the state-related institutions (Penn State, Temple, Pitt, and Lincoln) are looking at close to 30% cut. That’s after a 25% cut to PASSHE last year.
That’s not all. $320 million cut to the Department of Public Welfare, cutting 650 state jobs, and continued million dollar handouts to corporations — NOT small businesses. The attack is here AGAIN.

Raging Chicken Press was founded to cover activists’ responses to these kind of attacks to working people and the commons. We are here to amplify, agitate, and activate. But we need your help to build this progressive media movement.

I know people are strapped and uncertain about the future. But I’d like to ask you to consider contributing whatever you can to our fundraising drive. Even small donations of $5, $10, $25 helps sustain independent, progressive, activist media. Together we can turn the tide against these attacks by Corbett and his fellow slash and burn corporate-sponsored politicians across the country.

Please consider donating. We are fighting for our future. Click the link below to learn more.

https://www.wepay.com/donations/raging_chicken_press_fund

Bread and Roses,
Kevin Mahoney
Founder & Editor, Raging Chicken Press

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Like to write music? Progressive? This might be for you:

The November issue of Raging Chicken Press will be out soon (hopefully by Monday–we’ve been a bit sick here).  I know, the waiting game sucks.  Well, Raging Chicken Press has got something for at least some of you to do while you are waiting for the next issue.

Raging Chicken Press announces its first ever song contest! More specifically, song parody contest. Frankly, if I had the musical talent, I would have been on this over the summer. But, we all have to accept our short-comings. So, I thought this would be a cool project to push out to fans and friends of Raging Chicken Press.

Have you ever seen Disney’s version of Robin Hood? Well, I loved it as a kid and now my three-year old son loves it too. As I was watching it over the summer, I began to see the possibility of repurposing some of the songs on the soundtrack for our current struggles against right-wing attacks on collective bargaining, public education, social services, and our democracy. I began to think about casting our “beloved” governor, Tom Corbett as “Prince John” the “phony King of England.”  In particular, I was thinking about the song “The Phony King of England.” Listen to this song and replace “John” and “England” with “Tom” and “Pennsylvania” and you’ll get the idea:

Got it? If you check out Chris Priest’s repurposing of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” (see below) you’ll get the sense of what we’re thinking about here at Raging Chicken Press.

So, we’re going to try a little experiment: We are calling on readers and friends of Raging Chicken Press to submit parodies of the song “Phony King of England” to Raging Chicken Press. All entries will be posted to Raging Chicken Press and readers will have a chance to vote on the best version. The top three entries (if we get that many) will receive their choice of t-shirt from the Raging Chicken Press store.  The winning song will also receive Raging Chicken Press’s “Must Read” book of the month.

Here’s the rules:

  • Song must be a rewritten version of the “Phony King of England” that appears in the video above
  • Song should replace “John” with “Tom” and Tom should refer to PA Governor, Tom Corbett. Likewise, “England” should be replaced with “Pennsylvania”
  • All entries must be recorded in MP3 or .wav format.
  • All final recordings must be loaded up to YouTube. Ideally, the final video should include images to political protest against Tom Corbett and the PA Republican’s austerity budget and other attacks upon working families and the Commons.
  • Once songs are uploaded to YouTube, an email should be sent to ragingchickenpress@gmail.com including a link to the video, the name(s) of the song writer(s), and contact information including email and mailing address.
  • All entries should be submitted by November 29th.
Entries will be posted to Raging Chicken Press as they are received. Voting for best parody song will begin on November 30, 2011 and the winner(s) will be announced in December issue.
Any questions? Send email inquiries to Kevin Mahoney, Editor Zero, Raging Chicken Press @ ragingchickenpress@gmail.com. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

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