Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Devastating, Catastrophic, Nauseating

The effect of the proposed budget cuts on Penn State have been described as devastating and catastrophic. Today the Penn State Propaganda Portal finally responds to those cuts and I find the response nauseating.

As I noted in an earlier post, Governor Rendell does not consider Penn State, or the other state-related universities, to be fully public schools. Where might he get such an idea? Perhaps this is where he got it.
But we are very concerned about Right to Know legislation that would force the University to make information public that could undermine the operations of the university. There are dozens of examples of information that if made public could interfere with and undermine the quality of Penn State or erode privacy

Penn State and three other universities-University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, and Lincoln University--have been singled out for such intrusion. No other state-aided universities or private universities that receive appropriated funds are included in the legislation as drafted. These other universities receive tens of millions of dollars in state appropriation every year.

This proposal goes far beyond making Penn State accountable for how it spends public funds. Should such legislation pass, we would be treated as if we were part of state government, as if we were a state agency. We are not. We are a university that operates in a highly competitive environment. We are put at a competitive disadvantage when certain information must be revealed that is proprietary, or where such revelation would put us at a disadvantage.

That would be Graham arguing against being held accountable. In second paragraph, he argues that receiving funds from the Commonwealth does not distinguish Penn State as a public university, because many other unambiguously private schools also receive state funds. In the third paragraph he comes right out and says it: Penn State is not a state agency. Bottom line... Graham thinks Penn State is like Penn rather than like Lock Haven or the other state-owned universities. So he wants to be treated like Penn not Lock Haven. Fair enough.

Here is Old Main's response to the Rendell agreement with Graham's argument that Penn State is private.
In removing the state-related universities from eligibility for stabilization funds, Rendell has declared that they are not public universities, contrary to their missions and history of state support. Penn State is Pennsylvania's sole land-grant institution and carries out multiple missions in service to the state and its citizens. Its character as a public institution has been supported by 154 years of history, legislative action and legal documents. The law providing the federal stimulus funds notes that the intent of the money is to shield students at colleges and universities supported by state tax dollars from unusually large tuition hikes due to fiscal pressures the economy is placing on state budgets.
Whoa...come again. Penn State is public? Let's get this straight. When Old Main wants to dodge accountability, Penn State is private. When Old Main wants some government money, Penn State is public. What a bunch of crap.

If Old Main wants the stimulus money, it should be willing to accept it with some heavy accountability strings attached.

This rank hypocrisy isn't the only nauseating thing about Old Main's response. Consider this paragraph.
"While news of these proposed cuts is troubling, the discussion at this time is between the governor and the state Legislature, which must come to some agreement on a number of budget issues," said Penn State President Graham Spanier. "We realize the state is facing some serious fiscal challenges, but to cut funding for institutions like Penn State is really a step in the wrong direction."
Now read this one.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Education, Spanier asks officials there to look closely at Pennsylvania's stimulus funding application and to examine its exclusion of Penn State from the funding formula.
To paraphrase, look we understand things are tough in Harrisburg and we'll let you work things out between yourselves...and by the way, we telling Daddy....

Nauseating.



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1 comment:

EEISElmo said...

How is Graham Spanier like Mark Sanford? They both want to pretend that they don't need to be accountable. How is Graham Spanier like Rick Perry? They'd both like to secede and be independent but they can't afford to.