Pennsylvania's 14-university state system is feeling the burn of budget cuts and declining enrollment with little relief in sight.In the last few years, the universities have shed 5 percent of their permanent work force and discontinued or frozen new enrollment to 198 academic programs. But that wasn’t enough to shore up their budgets. Now universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education are looking to end programs, lay off dozens of full-time faculty members, and cut ties with numerous adjuncts and more staffers.
I was once an adjunct faculty member of one of these schools, a position that paid $1000 a year and offered no benefits. When the enrollment would fluctuate, adjuncts would be laid off, yet new administrators would still be hired and new administrative positions created. This has been the model for these schools, and many others in other states, for the better part of thirty years and the practice is now reaching its optimum toxicity.