In fall 2016, when faculty at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the other 13 PASSHE schools went on strike over failed contract negotiations, our local state representative, Dave Reed, worked tirelessly behind the scenes to forge a resolution that ended the strike.
Rep. Reed understood the implications of that labor dispute on students, IUP, other PASSHE schools and the local communities that host Pennsylvania’s public institutions of higher education. Consequently, he used his position to help end the labor dispute. In doing so, he represented his constituents, carrying out the job for which he was elected.
Here we are, four years later, and even more dire circumstances face IUP and many other PASSHE schools. Importantly, if proposed measures to “right size” many PASSHE schools are enacted, such plans are likely to adversely affect current students and dissuade future students from applying. Additionally, staff and faculty reductions will ravage local communities, including Indiana.
But unlike Rep. Reed four years ago, our current representatives remain silent. Their absence in problem-solving at the state and local level is deafening. When these draconian measures proposed by the IUP administration materialize and the local economy is ravaged, Rep. Jim Struzzi and Sen. Joe Pittman will take some of the blame for their appalling lack of leadership and representation.