- The Philadelphia Inquirer profiles Cheyney University, one of the nation's oldest historically black institutions and a school on edge as its professors join a statewide strike against the higher education system.
- An ongoing impasse over pay and healthcare benefits has stalled instruction at the state's 14 public institutions, and has caused students and observers to worry that mass transfers may close the doors at the most vulnerable campuses.
- Faculty say reduced compensation and benefits packages will harm the value of public education in the state, and would force transfers and withdrawals anyway.
There is a place for unionization in higher education, which we've seen throughout the summer and early fall at schools like Long Island University and in recent labor law decisions affecting graduate students. However, Pennsylvania is a unique case because legislators and state higher education officials have long wanted to consolidate the system through mergers and closures to tighten budgets stretched thin by what they view as too many public schools in the first place.
For Cheyney and other institutions in danger of closure or consolidation, the writing may already be on the wall. The implications of a professor strike on the bottom line, the jobs and the students they are seeking to preserve could be negatively impacted for life. Administrators should look to keep constant communication with faculty, helping them to understand the depth of the budget outlook, enrollment impact and the difference that just a handful of transfers could have on the future of the institution.