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Penn State Faculty Senate calls on university to stop budget cuts

Old Main administrative building
Emily Reddy
Old Main administrative building

As Penn State pushes ahead with plans for budget cuts and program reviews, including at its Commonwealth Campuses, many faculty are pushing back — calling on the university to stop the budget cuts and pointing to the potential negative impacts.

Penn State’s Commonwealth Campuses are slated to see a 14.1%, or $54 million, cut in university funding in the 2025-26 fiscal year. In a 75-39 vote at its March 19 meeting, the Faculty Senate passed a resolution calling on the university to halt its planned budget reduction, including at the campuses.

Faculty Senator Keith Shapiro spoke in favor of the resolution.

“It’s asking for a model that actively involves all the stakeholders from the beginning to ensure their participation in the initial decision-making process," he said.

The text of the Faculty Senate Resolution on proposed budget cuts
Penn State Faculty Senate
The Penn State Faculty Senate voted 75-39 during a March 19, 2024, meeting to pass a resolution calling for a stop to the budget cuts planned for 2025-26.

Some faculty and community members are also asking the state to step in, signing a petition calling on Gov. Josh Shapiro and state legislators to intervene. Faculty Senator Julio Palma, who is on the faculty at Penn State Fayette, said the petition was sent to Shapiro and legislators on the education and appropriations committees.

University officials have defended the upcoming budget cuts and pointed to the need for program reviews as the number of students at many of the Commonwealth Campuses drops. In a recent news release, the university said the campus reviews that are underway could lead to changes to programs that are “duplicative, no longer necessary or undersubscribed.”

"Changes need to occur. What might have made sense decades ago may not make sense today,” Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses Margo DelliCarpini said in the news release. “For instance, currently 14 of our 19 campuses are part of the University College. These are not independent entities — and we must look at duplication of services in every area, such as the registrar, enrollment management and admissions. It is important that we continue to come back to our top priority: the success of our students — which means we must evaluate our operations to ensure we are responsible stewards of their tuition dollars with every step we take.”

A snapshot from Penn State's Data Digest shows enrollment changes at the Commonwealth Campuses over the past five years.
Penn State Data Digest
A snapshot from Penn State's Data Digest shows enrollment changes at the Commonwealth Campuses over the past five years.

Anne Danahy has been a reporter at WPSU since fall 2017. Before crossing over to radio, she was a reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, and she worked in communications at Penn State. She is married with cats.