Instead of disbanding PASSHE, Chancellor Greenstein should resign

For the better part of the last two years, we have been hearing from PASSHE Chancellor Dan Greenstein that we need to reform the way we manage our Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or increase the state’s funding for it. Yesterday, he publicly offered another solution: disband the system all together. 

I am here to offer an even better next step: Dan Greenstein should resign.

Despite many in the legislature supporting higher state investment in the PASSHE schools (myself included), he has been unable to secure a greater increase in funding from the state. But candidly, he has not tried very hard. 

Instead, he has offered his own plan of consolidation, essentially turning six colleges into two. I have participated in several public hearings with the chancellor where he has been, in my opinion, evasive and vague, explaining just how his plan helps Pennsylvania’s students. If he hasn’t been able to convince me – a strong supporter of the PASSHE system – then it stands to reason that perhaps he is struggling to gain support for his consolidation plan.

So, he offers what can only be described as a nuclear option: disband the entire system. There are more than 84,000 Pennsylvanians who are learning either full or part time at a PASSHE school, 2,452 of whom reside in Lehigh County. What kind of message is he sending to those students?

As someone who has been in Harrisburg for some time, I can shrug off this rhetoric as the chirping of an ineffective public employee. But for those 84,000 students who are worried about how they are going to put themselves in position for a better paying career, this is a terrifying prospect. This is not leadership; it is fear mongering.

And I have no tolerance for threats against our students.

To the PASSHE students, let me say this: this will not happen on my watch. Please continue your studies at one of our 14 excellent PASSHE schools with the confidence that the system will remain and that your future remains bright.