Sunday, January 25, 2009

Buy Buy Buy: Penn State Continues To Expand

While Penn State leadership continues to sing the financial blues as an excuse for higher tuition and lower salaries, they're continuing the rapid expansion by purchasing more buildings and properties.

Penn State will pay $4.4 million to buy the James Building, which it currently rents as offices for the Daily Collegian and The College of Communication. This is on top of last spring's purchase of the Houtz property for millions more.

Long-term, they're saying that the move will save money. But, it's impossible to justify this spending when we're in such precarious financial position.

Unless, of course, we're not in that bad of financial straits and this is the typical BS and PSU.

Friday, January 9, 2009

How Other Big Ten Schools Are Approaching The Budget Problem

Penn State's leadership and its minions have trotted out excuses for the University's dismal economic position adding that, "other universities are facing problems" and "other universities are laying off workers" and on and on.

It's probably true: poor fiscal management and over-ambitious spending are not exclusive to Penn State; there are other Universities that made bad moves at bad times and now they--or usually their faithful employees--are paying the price.

However, it's equally true that there are Universities that are in much better shape fiscally because their leadership made good decisions. Some of these are the Universities in Penn State's own conference, the Big Ten.

While the economy has hit all the Big Ten schools, including Michigan and Michigan State, which are located in the hard-hit home of the declining auto industry, none of the schools' reactions appear to be approaching the severity we are facing at Penn State.

The University of Michigan, in fact, appears to be going on with its construction schedule. No word from Michigan State about problems like the ones facing Penn State, in fact it was recently named one of the best places to work in academia, so hats off.

University of Wisconsin is hard hit, but the leadership is actually asking its staff, faculty and students to find ways to save money, instead of unilaterally declaring war on their livelihood.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Spanier Continues To Justify Moves

President Spanier released a video and message explaining the cost-cutting moves. (This type of obsessive reaction seems to be based on a genuine fear of the backlash this is generating.)

There seems to be some good news for Penn State staff:

  • No job cuts, per se. (For the time being.)

  • No cut in retirement funding.

  • No hike in parking fees. (The current costs are unfair already.)

  • No hike in health care costs. (Nationwide, the costs are moderating.)

How long will these last? As long as we are cut off from these discussions, as long as staff continue to make themselves subservient to leadership whims, these could be cut at any time.

Here's the video. I'd like to hear some comments.

    Change Is Coming to Penn State

    When President-elect Barack Obama becomes President Barack Obama, it won't just be the nation that faces change. Penn State employees will have the best chance to change their own economic destiny.

    President Obama was widely supported by the staff of the University. Tens of thousands crowded the Hub lawn to hear him speak. There was even talk that University president Graham Spanier not only consulted with the Obama team, but also was a rumored pick as Secretary of Education.

    Those rumors were quickly dashed when news of riots and a questionable financial picture flooded the media, no doubt.

    It's now time for Dr. Spanier and the numerous employees and staff members who supported President Obama to embrace the change that is coming to labor relations in America and at Penn State. President Obama has had a pro-labor voting record and plans to take this stance into his term of office.

    Obama quote from

    So I owe those unions. When their leaders call, I do my best to call them back right away. I do not consider this corrupting in any way; I do not mind feeling obligated toward home health-care workers or toward teachers. I got into politics to fight for those folks, and I am glad a union is around to remind me of their struggles.

    It is time for workers at Penn State to take command of their economic future. It is time for workers at Penn State to have an equal voice in the matters that concerns the University, to share in its successes and failures.

    It's time for change at Penn State.