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Professors want to know why jobs are on the chopping block

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 24 2013 05:00:50 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 24 2013 07:45:39 PM CDT

Could deep budget cuts be on the horizon for East Stroudsburg University?

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. -

Could deep budget cuts be on the horizon for East Stroudsburg University?

Union members say they've been told the school could cut up to 30 positions -- some of them tenured professors.

And that's not all that's on the chopping block.

The cuts would be made to balance the university budget, a deficit that has ranged between $2-$7 million.

On a windy day at East Stroudsburg University, the winds of change have some professors on edge.

"You can not walk 10 feet in the halls of anyone of these buildings without running into students, faculty being overwrought by this idea of what's happening to this university," said Ken Mash, vice president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.

The university is facing a budget deficit for the 2014-15 school year.

Representatives of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, the union that represents professors at the university say the original shortfall was $7 million.

"Then we were told that no it's a $2.8 million shortfall," added Mash. "Then we were told no it's a $3.5 million shortfall. Then we were told yesterday, I believe the university said it was somewhere around a $6 million shortfall."

In order to make up the gap the university informed the union that up to 30 professors could lose their job, plus some university programs may be cut.

In a written statement, Brenda Friday, the director of university relations at East Stroudsburg University wrote a final decision won't be made until October 30th.

"Our goal in all of this is to maintain the same high quality of academic excellence for our students and minimize any impact on university personnel," the statement said.

"It's upsetting," said ESU senior, Amber Soto. "I love the school, that's why I stayed here because I love the school and I don't want to see it getting destroyed because of cuts."

Students and staff are hoping the university finds other ways to save money.

Union members say they also hope the university works with them before making cuts to the staff that helps students discover and achieve their goals of higher education.

"This university has an obligation to meet with the union, has an obligation to demonstrate why it is that they are in this situation," said Mash.

Next week university officials plan to start hand delivering letters to professors that may be laid off.

On October 29th, students and faculty plan to hold a "Believe in ESU" rally.