Pennsylvanians criticize plans to merge six state universities into two regional institutions

Written by on June 10, 2021

Pennsylvanians criticize plans to merge six state universities into two regional institutions

By  Kiley Koscinski / WESA
June 10, 2021

Clarion University is one of three schools that would merge into a “West” group. Photo | Courtesy Of Clarion University via WESA.

A plan to merge six state universities into two regional institutions drew criticism in a public hearing on June 9.

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The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s board of governors is hosting several hearings on the consolidation plan this week. If approved, Edinboro, Clarion and California universities would merge into a west group and Lock Haven, Bloomsburg and Mansfield universities would form a northeast group.

Classes and faculty would integrate under the plan and some campuses would only offer certain courses and labs online. 

Fred Smith is a graduate of Cal-U who serves on the alumni board. He says forcing state school programs online puts them in competition with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Silicon Valley companies.

 “What is the sell for me to go to college for four years at Cal U versus getting a tech certification at Google in six months?” Smith says. 

Others questioned the future of school programs like campus newspapers. The system chancellor says the consolidation best confronts declining enrollment and inadequate funding. A vote is expected next month.

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